This is, of course, absurd. (Ah, Isn't it? Trying to pretend I'm "not-me" to test how a random stranger might react?)
Now, soon, people will be getting copies of it. And reading it . And I love the book, I do, but there's always the moment when you send the baby out into the world and say--fly! fly! fly! Okay, I'm madly mixing metaphors, but you know what I mean. It's terrifying--and so exciting.
The other thing about being a writer is that we alwyas feel--it's only me. Just me. I'm here by myself, loving this but worrying, and no one else can understand. And then, a dear pal sent me this poem.
Written in 1650 or so! To me, it comes from love and pride and the bond a writer feels to her work--and a sweet affection for her "offspring." Anne Bradstreet was born in 1612. And emigrated to Massachsetts in 1630. We certainly share the frustrations of editing...don't you love when she rubs off a spot--only to find another flaw? It's fascinating to think about her--almost 400 years ago!--having some of the same feelings we all do now.
Apparently some of her acquaintances took her poems, and had them published against her wishes. And tht proably wouldn't happen today!And I don't agree with all of her emotions, of course...do you? But I do love the sisterhood and the common ground. And the idea that though many things change--can you imagine Anne Bradstreet seeing her poetry in an e-book?--so many things for writers are universal and constant, transcending time.
She might even have become a "Girlfriend," right?
The Author to Her Book
Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find.
In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.
In critic's hands beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known;
If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none;
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
HANK: How do you feel at those turning point moments for your book? How do you handle the nerves? I say to myself--this is what I dreamed of! So now--enjoy it.
(THE OTHER WOMAN is the lead title for Forge Books' fall catalogue...Lisa Scottoline says "Riveting!"
find out more at http://www.HankPhillippiRyan.com )