My early copy of A Year Of Writing Dangerously arrived last week. I was ecstatic – it looks so beautiful! New World Library did such a fantastic job turning it into a published book. It's almost 400 pages and it feels heavy. I tried dipping into it but I had reread it so many times in manuscript that my eyes just blurred over the words.
Then Axel and Grace showed up for the weekend - the book is dedicated to them along with their cousin Emma - so with much excitement I showed them their names on the dedication page. "Uh huh!" said Grace. I asked them if they wanted to have me read aloud an entry about them. "Sure," said Grace who is always polite. We were in my office and they were busy into art projects. Axel kept drawing.
"Okay!" I said, "This is about Axel and the time we played "Perfection!" Axel nodded as he drew a castle. I started to read. Grace walked out of the room. Axel kept drawing. It suddenly occured to me that no one was listening to me read.
Here's the truth about publishing: your family does not usually become ecstatic when it happens. You're still you and they love you but most likely they won't be overly impressed.
At bedtime I gave Axel and Grace a copy of Nancy Minchella's Mama Will Be Home Soon to read (their own mama was gone this weekend) and when I told them Nancy, the author, had been my student, Grace said in awestruck tones, "Your student? How old is she?" I told her Nancy was a grownup and that I teach writing classes for grownups. They loved the book. And I finally impressed my grandchildren.