I’m getting published!

I’m going to be a published author!

This summer, something incredible happened.  After a year of talking, then negotiating, then revising an agreement with a publisher- I SIGNED IT! This means that someone is legally bound to publish my novel within 18 months.  My manuscript will actually become a NOVEL!!

The publisher and I had gone back and forth on a date to sit down and sign the thing, but the lawyer in me wanted to do it over e-mail (because it’s easier to confirm it’s the right version, etc.).  So I did that and then scanned it and sent it at work.  BIG MISTAKE.  I literally started crying at my desk.  Someone out there thinks I got a bad performance review!

It was so weird because I knew this was going to happen for a while.  But then it actually happened and I felt so overwhelmed.  To have worked so hard on something for so long and then receive that validation is an incredible feeling.  I finally had a concrete response to the question “how is the novel going?” But, above all, I was overwhelmed because I was blessed to have had the experience at all.

Like Beyonce, I hate talking about who I am or am not dating in many circumstances.  It’s border line infuriating how society seems to define a woman by who they marry and when.  Or if they have kids and when.  But one thing I have always believed was that rather than pining for the security of relationship life while you’re single, you should enjoy the freedom and opportunity.  And likewise, rather than missing the freedom while in a relationship, you should enjoy the love and security.  Enjoy the benefits of what you have, when you have it.

I bring this up because, in that moment, crying at my desk, I knew that I was experiencing something amazing that I couldn’t at least in my prior relationships.  During this period of “freedom,” I had discovered what fulfilled me. I don’t know if it’s the vulnerability that comes with pouring your soul on the page or the sense that someone out there will finally understand you, but the experience really did feel like falling in love. I didn’t even realize that I thought that scenario—being fulfilled on one’s own—was impossible, until I had experienced it and the amazement that followed.

Epilogue 😉

I wrote this post shortly after signing the agreement.  I don’t know why I took so long to publish it, but during that time an editor has been reviewing my work and she got back to me recently.  The second wave of intensity is about to begin!



An Author Shut Down My Senior Thesis (Thankfully, No One Cares)

broyardBack in the day, I wrote my senior thesis on Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, which was about a black guy in the 1940s who passed as a white, Jewish guy.  To be honest, that ish was so long ago, I don’t remember much beyond the thesis of my thesis.  I do, however, remember this: one chapter was about the influence of the writer Anatole Broyard (pictured left) on the novel’s protagonist, Coleman Silk.  There were several similarities, but the big ones were that both men were Creole (think Beyonce), academic, and “passed” as white, meaning they were black but pretended to be white.  As part of my research, I corresponded with Broyard’s daughter, Bliss, about her Dad’s life.  She gave me some tidbits, and was in the midst of working on a memoir about her Dad, who she had no idea was black until the end of his life (yes, that means, she had no idea SHE was black either).

Ok so, fast forward 6 years, and some things happened.  First, Philip Roth published An Open Letter to Wikipedia in the New Yorker.  He was mad that Wikipedia wouldn’t change the statement that his novel was “allegedly inspired by the life of Anatole Broyard” despite his requests that they do so.  Wikipedia, he claims, said that he, as the author, was not a credible source. Roth, who is notoriously press-shy btw, then published a letter trying to seize control over the interpretation of his novel.  He said that Coleman Silk was NOT based on Broyard and, in addition to giving a bunch spoilers, he argued that he alone was enough to counter the assertion. Ok.

Somewhere between 2006 and now, I became Facebook friends Bliss Broyard after meeting her at a signing for her memoir, One Drop.  I posted Roth’s article on her timeline (although it was almost more for her fans, since I assumed she had seen it).  The other day, she wrote a Facebook post that began “someone posted on my timeline this Open Letter from Philip Roth…”  Of course I was like, “oh s**t.”  Then I read her post.  On Facebook, she shared extensive thoughts on Roth’s letter, primarily arguing 1) that it’s actually not so crazy that people made comparisons between her Dad and the protagonist and 2) an author can’t dictate the conclusions other people draw about his characters.

I agree with both arguments, and not because I’m personally invested in the outcome of this debate—I mean, let’s face it, no one is ever going to read my thesis again.  But, in the words of a fellow aspiring author from my writers group, once a writer publishes, “the words are out of his hands.”  If Roth had  read Molly Ringwald’s New York Times blog post or at least MY blog post on her post, he would have known that.  Everyone has different experiences and backgrounds that will lead to unique responses to fiction, art, etc.  The character you created isn’t yours once someone else consumes it. Let him go Roth, let him go…  I’d like to know what others think.  Holllla.

Follow This Blog! (You know you want to…)

Are you worried about <gasp!> missing illegalwriting blog posts?  Well, fear no more!  By simply going to the home page and entering your e-mail address under “Follow Blog” in the lower right hand corner, you can receive an e-mail every time I publish a post!  C’mon…you know you’re looking for ways to procrastinate. 🙂 Holllerrrr