All day yesterday, I kept humming, “I’m getting married in the morning,” in anticipation of the book launch of The Divorce Girl. No wonder, considering that I’ve shacked up with this book for 16 years, and now, it’s the big event. We had a ceremony (a short Havdalah service, a Jewish ritual to welcome the next week), some singing, some prayers, a little wine, a braided candle and my friend Reva presenting the bride (or am I the groom?). It even ended with a receiving line, only instead of people wishing us happiness together, I was wishing them happiness with the new book (guess this is an open marriage).
I know it’s ludicrous to experience a book launch as a marriage, but I couldn’t help the strange overflow from my subconscious, and besides, it was a joyous occasion for me, and hopefully for others too. Over 80 people, our wonderful local bookstore The Raven was on hand to sell many books, and we had a lovely ceremony and reading, punctuated by John Gorka’s recording of his appropriate song, “I’m From New Jersey” (with the lyrics, “I don’t expect much/ If the world ended today/ I would adjust”). We laughed, we cried, we ate rugalech (plus black and white cookies Ken slaved over into the wee hours of the night, Judy’s great coconut cake — Emily Dickinson’s recipe! — and amazing Russian black bread Reva made), and we sang along with Jack Winerock and Susan Elkin’s leading us in “li-li-li’s.”
Afterwards, in true post-big-event fashion, Ken and I picked up burritos at Taco Bell before I drove him to the airport to fly to D.C. with his sisters for their siblings’ vacation. Driving back to Lawrence, I sang along with Sarah Vaughn, and once back in town, stopped at the Bastille Day party to fetch Daniel, hug more friends, and listen to some French ballads steaming across the dark lawn before coming home to my post-launch life.
So far, that life is luscious (still have some of the Russian bread left) and refreshing (thanks to iced coffee, cantaloupe and a morning spent on the front porch with sleeping dogs). While there are many readings, blog tour stops and workshops related to novel ahead, right now, I’m just reveling in the reality that after 16 years of writing, the book is done, and a new chapter opens, not one about how I will write this book and get it published, but about what happens after arriving in the heart of the dream.
Thank-you: I’m so grateful to Reva Friedman for the most beautiful introduction to my work and life, to Susan Elkins and Jack Winerock for leading the Havdalah service so harmoniously and helping beforehand/afterwards, to Daniel and Forest Lassman for all their help, to all those who brought astonished baked books (Judy Roitman, Reva Friedman, Marilyn Naron, Denise Low), to The Raven (and Heidi Raak and Lisa Stockton, visionary and generous owners of the Raven), to Steve Semken and Ice Cube Press for EVERYTHING!, and to Ken Lassman for all the baking, shlepping, cleaning and chair-piling in the last day and decades of support and faith in my writing.