For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. At age three, in cursive on construction paper, I wrote tables of contents for imaginary novel chapters. From fifth to eighth grade, I created dozens of terrible young adult fiction book outlines that inspired too-long scribbled “Chapter Ones” in loose leaf notebooks. During high school, I attempted to write poetry collections about my non-existent love life and glamorized ideals of solitude. In college, I would study in the University library and take my breaks strolling through my favorite aisles–particularly the 20th century non-fiction texts, running my fingers over the books’ textured spines and gazing with love over the letters that spelled out titles and author names horizontally, like vertebrae.
As a grown-up writer, I think differently about the idea of publishing a book. I would still love to write one (perhaps with Jen, who is a far better scribe than I), but I now unfortunately know all the other stuff that goes along with the endeavor: book proposals and agents and publishers and politics and big-selling Christmas seasons and the word “niche” and writing from the inside and redundancy and timeliness and nervous breakdowns and writer’s block and what-about-my-other-projects and maybe-I-just-can’t-fucking-do-this and wouldn’t-it-just-be-easier–and-faster-to-have-our-twitterfeed-optioned-as-a-lame-William-Shatner-sitcom. I mean, hell, real writers are miserable for a reason.
Whenever somebody I know publishes a book, particularly a second or third (God help me if I ever befriend Mr. Chopra), my chest heaves a little. I’m jealous. I’m really, really jealous. I’m obviously proud and happy for them, I probably love their book and can’t wait to get my copy signed–but I’m also cringing inside, mad at myself for not realizing such an important dream, even though I arguably write thousands of words every week. Bloggers publish words on a virtual page that isn’t really a page; it doesn’t smell of ink and paper, you can’t dogear it, you can’t lend it to a friend and ask for it back. There’s just something about a book.
When I see something like this:
…I start to wonder if I need to re-think everything. EVERYTHING.
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