Alice Close Your Eyes has gone to print. Just galleys at this point, but still, people will soon be reading my story and judging
me it. After all these naughty hours in a snug dark corner, it seems that Dad has crashed the party and is reaching for the lights.
For comfort, I reread one of Betsy’s old posts about how success almost never happens, how the publishing world is sleepy and indifferent, and most books fall right through the cracks without leaving so much as a claw mark on the floorboards. I admit I sometimes wish for that. Failure ensures anonymity, it’s predictable and safe. It’s darkness for a lemur. The center of a school of sardines, a chalk-blue gannet’s egg in a cliffside nest. It’s the palest, weakest, coldest moon no earthly soul longs to inhabit, which therefore makes it home sweet home. I have no more fear of failure than I do my living room sofa.
But I’m not in this alone anymore. For the sake of my book, I have to learn to hope for success, and allow that toxic optimism back into my mind. Recently I was emailing to catch up with an old friend, telling her about my books and whatnot, only to realize after hitting send that I sounded not only foolish and starry-eyed, but even more self-centered than usual. I hate myself for every sanguine word I wrote. I fucking hate to play the rube. Promotion is inherently optimistic, at least it seems so from the outside, and for that reason alone it scares the hell out of me.
How do you manage your psychological quirks when it comes to writing and promoting your work?