This morning, I was too tired to go to a ballet class. Instead, I slept very late. When I finally got dressed (jeans, black t-shirt), I had to take a trip to the very last place I wanted to go, which was the mall. Because, as I may have mentioned before, I hate shopping. I came back with two cardigans, because in Boston, in winter, I live in turtlenecks and cardigans. There were plastic Christmas trees and Christmas shoppers, and incessant music.
The blog post on being an introvert comes sometime next week.
(I realized, a while back, that I have a uniform: jeans and a black t-shirt. When you have those, and a cardigan, and a pair of black ballet flats, what else do you need? For winter, substitute boots, a black turtleneck. Add pearls and a pair of marcasite earrings. And that’s pretty much it. Well, maybe a black skirt for going to the ballet in the evenings. But you don’t really need anything else.)
Then I had to recover from going to the mall, which involved sleeping for another couple of hours. And now I’m awake but still tired, and writing this. Which is not, I promise, a rant on how much I hate shopping, or malls. Or on how you can spend the rest of your life in jeans and black t-shirts, although I may write that blog post yet.
This, by the way, is the uniform:
I must have taken this picture several months ago? I think I was having a conversation with someone about what to wear when you’re teaching college classes, and I said that I wear jeans (although not all the time of course), and then I think I took a picture to prove it (in the mirror of the bathroom next to my office, on my way to class). So it’s silly posting it here. But there you go.
No, this post is about authorial fears. Remember the blog post I wrote a couple of days ago about writers and authors? Several comments mentioned that some people want to be authors without being writers, and I thought, why ever would they want to? Because writing is the fun part. You get to sit in a nice, quiet room, perhaps with classical music playing in the background, and make stuff up. Being an author is scary.
The Thorn and the Blossom comes out in January, which means that people are starting to talk about it, and of course they’re talking about the format. Recently I saw a blog post at a website called Novel Chatter that said the following: “Not sure what this book’s story will be like, but the concept is pretty quirky. Watch the video, see what you think. The Thorn and The Blossom, by Theodora Goss, is out in January, 2012, and I hope it’s not all ‘quirk.'” And you know what? I hope so too.
In other words, I hope people actually like the story. When you’re a writer, you’re responsible for the story. Of course, you didn’t write the story entirely by yourself. There’s an editor involved, but no reader is going to say, “Wow, I think the editor totally messed this up.” No, the responsibility rests with the writer. (For the record, my editor was the utterly lovely Stephen Segal, who did a great deal to improve the story. The flaws in it are entirely mine.)
So the book is coming out, and I’m going to have to be, not just a writer, but also an author. Meaning that I’m going to have to do readings, interviews, all those sorts of things. Which sound so glamorous, but are actually difficult, at least if you’re an introvert (blog post definitely coming next week). I think my first reading will be at the Boston University Barnes and Noble in early February. I’ll let you know when! And what if you schedule a reading but no one shows up? At various points in my writing career so far, I’ve read to one person and I’ve read to more than a hundred people. But you know what I find even scarier than readings? Signings. Because at least at a reading I’m giving the reader something, some value for attendance. But seriously, why would anyone want my signature on a book? Once a reader buys the book, I don’t matter anymore. It’s no longer my story. The reader writes it in his or her head. (And now I have discouraged anyone from attending one of my signings, ever.)
These are all things you have to do, because you can’t just sit in a dark room writing, much as you may prefer to. You have to let people know the book is out there. But it can be difficult, and it takes time, and even the most successful event drains your energy. Even tonight, trying to write a post through the tiredness, trying to connect in this way, I feel drained.
Time to go back to sleep, or perhaps just sit in a quiet room, reading a book.