You Will Write Again
I have been working on this letter for a few days and was having a lot of trouble getting it done and I could not figure out why, and then last night I was messing around online and your honor, I’d like to present exhibit A in the defense:
So is today the day where instead of banging my head up against the wall, I choose to write in my journal, do a little soft writing, where I’m gentle to my brain and amble along the page like a deer in the woods? Is today the day I just read the two books I have been dying to read and which, at last, are finally sitting in my possession? Is today the day I forgive myself for not being able to be a high-functioning individual in a low-functioning society? Can I declare today, December 20, 2021, National Give Yourself A Fucking Break Day? Why yes, I can.
Give yourself a fucking break today, if you need it. If you’re having trouble right now, I promise you, you will write again. What are you worried about? That you’ll end up living high up in a broken-down castle somewhere like a character in some Gothic novel, and all the townspeople whisper about how you were once a writer but Then Something Happened and you never wrote again?
Well listen: Nothing has happened, not in that kind of way, and you wish you lived in a castle. But, of course, everything has happened and it is hard right now but we will get through all this and then there will be more things to get through because that is how life works. The words will always be there for you, though, I promise, even if your brain, which transmits those words, needs a little time to pause or heal or relax or take a goddamn nap because this world, right now, at least for today, wins a little bit. But just the battle and not the war, baby. I promise.
You will write again.
The dog guarantees it
I’m three weeks away from the launch of my book. My event in Brooklyn is sold out (ooh we’re going to have fun, Brooklyn) but I think there are still a few tickets available in DC, where I will be in conversation with New Yorker contributing writer Kyle Chayka.
You can now listen to the first few minutes of the audiobook, voiced by the charismatic Xe Sands here. And yes, it definitely freaked me out a bit listening to someone be me, but I think it sounded pretty great, too. It didn’t even occur to me to do it myself, although I know plenty of authors do voice their own memoirs. It made me feel shy and nervous to think about spending all that time talking about myself out loud. I’m a solid public speaker, but my gut told me that I wouldn’t have done my words justice. I was glad there was a professional to do it instead.
Also, I wanted to point out that if you pre-order my memoir from Books Are Magic (or have already pre-ordered it), they now come with this sticker sheet.
I died when I saw it. I mean look at my freaking dog.
Some other nice things: There is a fun conversation between me and Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo about our books and being a writer over at Entertainment Weekly. (Her memoir is amazing.) This morning USA Today called my book a “fierce memoir of personal transformation” on their winter preview list. It also appears in this month’s Vogue.
Yes, it is beginning-of-year list season. (As opposed to end-of-the-year list season, which ended like two days ago.) My book has appeared on a couple of lists but not all of them, but what can you do? It’s stiff competition, except they’re not competition because we’re all on the same team. I can’t be mad or upset at anyone for their success because all these books look amazing. When good books sell it is good for everyone. (And even, sometimes, when not-so-good books sell, too.)
I loved this post from Jessamine Chan:
It has been fun to watch these debut authors cheer for each other online. In my mind I have started to think of them as the January 4th Five. Also, their books look great. (I have read Jessamine’s and it is a really cool book.)
This is truly the only way to be, to use the publication of your book (or any kind of creative success, really) as an opportunity to connect with and support your peers. It is one of the perks of being part of the writing world, in my opinion. You meet the best people along the way.
I’m leaving the comments open today to everyone in case you want to say hello.
Happy holidays, everyone.
I just want to add to the chorus of voices saying I NEEDED THIS REASSURANCE and also THANK YOU. You are a treasure.
Years ago a friend introduced me to the concept of "pajama day." On pajama day, one takes a bath and puts on clean pajamas and watches movies or reads books. The most important thing about pajama day is to realize when it is pajama day before you've struggled through it and are frustrated. I am glad you did not miss yours. Also, the anticipation and anxiety of a book coming out and full schedule of events would definitely make it hard for me to write!