I was going to throw this up on Facebook this morning, but it got a touch too long, so I thought I’d post it here.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who’s recently contacted me to let me know that they read the book and enjoyed it. (ARCs are going out – although I wish they wouldn’t, now! We just did some more last-minute editing.)
If just one person really loves the book, enough to want to know more about the characters, enough to write me to tell me so – then it has truly all been worth it. Indeed, the pre-publication fan letters people have sent are more than I ever rightly expected to receive, and the very idea that people went out of their way to write them is so humbling that I can barely find the words to talk about it.
I often tell people that I feel as if I’ve stumbled into publishing, though I’ve written my entire life. I often feel as if I haven’t paid my dues, especially when I listen to wonderful authors go on and on about their process and their planning and all the things they’ve learned and tried and failed at and tried again. I feel as if I’m having to catch up at a very late stage in the game – I feel like a floundering newbie. I wrote D,D for fun. I wrote it to amuse myself and a few friends. So the fact that it quite literally saved my life, yanked me out of poverty, gave me a larger goal to focus on – a grand opus to finish, though you’ll hopefully forgive me if my tongue is bruising my inner cheek as I say that – is, for me, nothing short of bloody miraculous. And terrifying. And still only half-believable.
Right now I’m working on composing a few talks to deliver to local teen writing groups. These are young people who, I suspect, already know more about the business and craft of writing than I do, so I’m loath to go in and start rambling about things like that. And yet, I’m also reluctant to go in and tell the truth – that despite all the hard work that’s gone into this venture, I still feel like I’m a product of blind luck. That I feel like I have very little to offer them in terms of hard, real-life advice or experience. That all I feel I can tell them is, “Sometimes, it just happens.” I fear that would only disappoint them, on some level – or do them little tangible good.
And yet, at the risk of sounding Pollyannaish – isn’t that something we all need to hear, too? That we can carry on with our lives, make what we want, be what we want, tell the stories we want – and that people will listen? People will respect it? People will recognize it and, seemingly out of the aether, use it to change your life?
That, in turn, your work may go on to make at least one other person, a total and complete stranger, happy?
I’ve been anachronistic my entire life. I’ve been idiosyncratic. I’ve been weird. I’ve loved what I’ve loved, and I’ve loved it alone. (To paraphrase Poe.) That my weirdness has rescued me is nothing short of amazing. So, although it feels odd to lecture at anyone, here’s my advice – become who you want. Become what you want. Shape yourself in any fashion you desire – for none of us can find ourselves, we must make ourselves. Do what you love. Do wrong and go back again. Scratch the itches in your mind, in your heart, even if no one else seems to understand why you’re doing it. Don’t follow trends, don’t chase after the next thing, don’t let exterior concerns narrow your focus – live broadly, live oddly, live so that at the end you can say, “Well. That was lovely. I wish I could do it again, but I simply haven’t the time.”
And thank everyone. As I am thanking all of you, again. Thank you so much.