So, if you’ve been reading my postings lately, you probably realize I’ve been a little derailed. Over the past six months, death has ironically been a big part of my life. If you’ve been bearing with me, I really do appreciate it.
But here’s the thing. My book came out! Yep. It did. It actually did. FETCHING is an actual book, one that you can hold, and fan the pages, and admire on the shelf. It weighs a full pound, and makes a nicely satisfying thud when you put it down on a table, and it thwacks shut, and it has actual substance and matter AND IS NO LONGER A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION as it once was, years ago.
So here’s what happened on November 8th. It would have felt like any ordinary Tuesday if it weren’t for my best friend, Michele (who was my best friend back in eighth grade, so very fitting!). Determined NOT to let it be any ordinary Tuesday, Michele shuffled her kids off to various family members and drove to my house and insisted I take her Barnes & Noble.
It’s not that I didn’t want to go to Barnes & Noble, I was just afraid of being disappointed. It was the release day — there’s no way my little book would have made it to the shelf already, right? I tried to convince Michele. FETCHING was probably still in a box in the stockroom waiting to be unpacked — a necessary but tedious retail chore to be handled when all the glitzy bestsellers had been handled, you know?
But she wouldn’t accept my Debbie Downerhood. She kept insisting. So we drove to the nearest B&N, went in and looked.
And couldn’t find it.
So we asked the coolly aloof teenager at the customer service desk (If I wasn’t so self-absorbed, I would have noted his name. For now, I’ll have to call him Clark). So Clark typed in the title. I sighed and waited for the expected, “We can order it for you.” But instead, he said, “I’ll show you where it is.”
I think I said, “Really?” And it was an actual question, because it didn’t seem real. But he started heading into the Juvie section so Michele and I followed, practically skipping. My heart started going a bit wild and I found it increasingly difficult to exhale.
But then he couldn’t find it, and I thought, “See? What did I really expect?”
The three of us browsed another few shelves and I started feeling panicky. I started manically hurling descriptions of the spine at Clark (“it’s hot pink”) and the cover (“it’s got a Boston terrier on it”) and the compliments the book had gotten on its cover (“everyone says it’s EXTREMELY attractive!”). Clark smiled at me nervously and rightfully backed away some, toward another shelf.
And then. I saw it. THERE IT WAS! On the top shelf. FACE OUT. Under a sign that said “New for Young Readers.” And a few inches down from Raold Dahl (!) and right next to a Pulitzer prize-winning author (!), and nestled nicely among new books from some great and notable writers (!!!).
So maybe I squealed some. Maybe I danced some, or otherwise awkwardly jerked myself about. I’m not sure, but judging from the look on Clark’s face, my behavior was clearly not that of your standard shopper. So I told him it was my book (I actually think my first words were, “It’s MINE! It’s MY book!” But those were quickly followed up with further context and he relaxed). And then Clark dropped his coolly aloof facade and actually got a little giddy too, and we all had a great little moment — for me, a really memorable one. A lady in the aisle overheard us and joined in on the revelry, smiling and congratulating me. (However, it’s entirely possible that I might have blown that sale by stroking the cover and muttering, “Mine, mine,” one too many times.)
And then Michele and I bought four copies. Because we could. Because my book had been published. It was on the bookstore shelves. And my dream had come true.
And it definitely was NOT an ordinary Tuesday.