I Came All This Way to Meet You
Tomorrow is my pub day. Some nice reviews have shown up. I liked this from the Boston Globe:
“[Attenberg’s] writing…shimmers with keen pragmatic observations as well as deeply perceptible humane empathy . . . I Came All This Way to Meet You is a book about the making of a writer in the best possible way – accessible, funny, illuminating. It’s a book about kindness and grief, joy and forgiveness, failures, challenges, mistakes, and hope. It’s also a terrific ode to good art and true friendship.”
If you’ve been following along, I’ve been writing this sucker since the summer of 2019, when I tackled the early stages of it during #1000wordsofsummer. In the fall of 2019, I wrote the proposal. In January 2020, I sold it, and thought, “It’ll be hard to start it right away with all the traveling I’m doing all spring, but at least I’ll be able to focus on it starting next summer.” And then, suddenly, I had all the time in the world to write it.
I knew I was going to have to face myself when I wrote this book, but it was something else when I couldn’t escape myself. Sharing my process of writing this book with this newsletter has been a remarkable experience. I’ve chewed on so many problems I was having in these letters, even if it wasn’t immediately obvious. There are blocks of text that I lifted from these letters for the final book. I was figuring out my memoirist’s voice the whole time I was writing these letters.
What I have learned: No matter what I’m writing, it’s never a waste of time. I’m always working through something. I’m always trying to arrive at a new location. Even I can’t see it right away, it’s happening beneath the surface. I don’t know how else to say it but this: If you want to be a writer, just sit down and write already. That’s the only way to get things done.
I ended up liking myself more by the end of this book, which was an unexpected result. I thought: Look at all I did, and I survived it just fine. And look at all the times I fucked up, but I think I learned from it, and I’ll try to be better next time. I understand joy, and I understand beauty. I can see that in these pages.
But I don’t expect anyone else to like me. The most I can hope for is that they like the writing, that they like the way I told the stories. I hope they enjoy the reading of this book. The experience of it all.
I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home is available at all your local independent bookstores, and if they don’t have it, they can order it for you. I will be at Loyalty Books in DC on Friday personalizing copies, so you can order through them, or you can order through my local New Orleans shops, Blue Cypress or Octavia Books, and I’ll drive over there next week and sign them for you. It is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you want to join in on a virtual event, they’re all listed here.
Thanks for everything, always, from all of you.