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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07


I am fairly certain I am not doing all the things that one is to do when the book you have gestated is about to be birthed into the wild. I know I’m supposed to be promoting the shit out of it right now. No one writes a book because they want to market and promote and talk about the book. They write it because it’s a story that won’t leave them alone until pen is put to paper and it’s out. Until it’s out, it pinballs in your brain. Ricocheting. A restless and itchy thought that grows, threatening to take over. It starts as a whisper and then is shouting, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” So, you do just that. You relent.

Instead of promoting my book to new audiences, I’m locking down celebrations to get this book into the hands of those who supported its journey. Those who were brave and vulnerable and trusted me with their stories. Not every story made it into the book – editing is a ruthless art. It shreds your work to ribbons that fall to the floor and curl in on itself like celluloid film. This is as much as celebration of the story tellers as it is the book in print form in the wild. It’s a celebration of those who were like, “Sure. I will buy a copy of this restless and noisy idea in your head. I trust you to bring this to life on the page.”

At one point, the book was quite far along and I was having a small breakdown induced by Chicago style citations and said to Andrea, “Should I just quit?! How will I get people their money back?!” This was a foolhardy question induced by not feeling well and the belief (fear?) that I wouldn’t be able to get this goddamn book over the finish line. There was no way to reverse course at that point so, onward.

The real reason I have not been promoting the shit out of this book is because it seemed unbelievable – even as I cleared hurdle upon hurdle, it seemed as if it wasn’t really going to happen. “You better wait and see.” My unconscious mind hissed to me. And also, a book is so very different than a blog post. A book is (in my case) 234 pages, over 100 citations, and numerous interviews. A blog post is something people can read, think, “Oh who cares.” And walk away. A book is your baby that you put sweat and tears into (truth) and you hope people think, “This baby is beautiful and has something important to say!” I guess bringing a book to life is an ultimate act of vulnerability. I have pretty thick skin – I mean, my first job was the Army and from there I went into HR. Both require a bit of tenacity and grit. But still…. I once read a post by author Chris Bohjalian and he stated that he only leaves positive reviews for other authors on Goodreads. It’s a sentiment I understand more now. But also – I’m not going to take advice on how to tie my shoes from people who don’t know how to tie their own.

Recently, my mom said of Bohjalian, “Don’t you wonder how he does it?”

And I said, “No. Writing is his full-time job.” Because it is and he is incredibly successful at it. Honestly, writing, publishing, marketing. It’s fucking hard. So I have the utmost respect for him and others who have managed to craft a life doing it. Royalties – pretty sure they are called that for a reason.

My mom is bopping into town this evening and Andrea is going to pick her up from the airport so I can attend an event at the Library of Virginia. Author Kathryn Miles will be speaking about her book, Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders. I told Miles over Instagram that I’d be attending and trying not to fan girl too much because her book is amazing. She now follows me on Instagram – I hope she likes photos of cats and rotten produce.

Tomorrow, we’ll whisk the Bertinator away to the cottage. Andrea and I were there last weekend – the weather perfection upon our arrival. We sat on the deck enjoying a gentle breeze and a mocktail (well, for me). The cottage is far from city lights. We once arrived after dark on fall evening and the road to the cottage was black – the headlights illuminating only a few feet in front of Andrea’s Jeep. On a clear evening, the stars are astonishing. Years ago, probably in 2008, Andrea and I took an adult Ed astronomy class together. I had wanted a telescope & was of the (false) belief that I’d be able to view stars and planets with Hubble quality clarity. The class disabused this notion. But I would still think of the telescope. Andrea surprised me with one and it’s set up at the cottage now.

The star-forming region NGC 3603 - seen here in the latest Hubble Space Telescope image - contains one of the most impressive massive young star clusters in the Milky Way. Bathed in gas and dust the cluster formed in a huge rush of star formation thought to have occurred around a million years ago. The hot blue stars at the core are responsible for carving out a huge cavity in the gas seen to the right of the star cluster in NGC 3603's centre.

I'm not making a joke, you know me I take everything so seriously If we wait for the time till all souls get it right Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation In my lifetime I'm still not right I offer thanks to those before me That's all I've got to say 'Cause maybe you squandered big bucks in your lifetime Now I have to pay But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration To let the next life off the hook But she'll say "look what I had to overcome from my last life I think I'll write a book" How long till my soul gets it right Can any human being ever reach the highest light Except for Galileo God rest his soul (Except for the resting soul of Galileo) King of night vision, king of insight Galileo, The Indigo Girls

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