A Small Truth

I’m going to make a confession to you all…right here and right now.  It’s something I’ve battled with, but I don’t believe I’m alone in it, so I’ll share.

Okay–willful deep breath–

My small truth is this: I can count on one hand (plus one finger) how many real life people know I wrote a book.

That’s right, six people.  My parents, my husband, my husband’s parents and my sister.  That’s it.  Those people are the small klatch that make up my literary debut.  And believe me, I’ve sworn them all to secrecy…threatened them, truthfully, begged them to keep my secret–warned them that this book is top shelf secret stuff until it’s published.

Why?  Why blog about something and put it out to virtual strangers and not tell the people who swarm my life with good wishes and love in the realm of real?

It’s simple.  It boils down to accountability of a dream.  And the way it sounds to say, I’m an author to someone who has known me as everything but that–all seven shades of silliness.

THE MILESTONE TAPES started so small–I mean really, really teeny tiny.  Only my husband knew.  Of course he knew, I’d disappear for hours upon hours and end up with hyper-sensetive finger tips.  But that was it.   I knew I could give it up at any time and no one would ever be the wiser.  I wouldn’t be bombard with questions like why and no one would be forced think things like I knew it.  I wouldn’t have to skirt their inquires with watered down excuses like a 50 hour work week and running a home.

The fact of the matter is this, I’m not a college graduate.  I’m probably the last person anyone would ever expect to write a book.  I’m not a grammar wizard or a punctuation savant.  I write like I talk.  I don’t have a background in beautiful phrasing–and shit, I hardly know what the purpose of semi-colon is.  I feel like, sometimes, I’m the literary equivalent of the girl that calls in on the infomerical and orders the “at-home-art-class-kit” –you know, the one where you have to trace the clown or rabbit and send it back, and then they tell you if you’ve got the chops for the big time.

So for anyone but my husband to know, it felt like I’d have to admit: I’m chasing a crazy dream and I’m super under prepared for it.

When the book grew, and I hit 20k words, I told my parents.  They were thrilled–tossing around words like “gift” and “destiny“…and that felt a lot like accountability.  My mom gushed to my sister, who raised her eyebrows–and that was a serious reality check.  The thing I’d been outrunning, the do you really think you can do this look.  It’s a loaded moment, to see what you fear in someone else’s eyes.  It hurts and it’s riddled with spikes of self doubt.  Because really, can I?  What makes me think I can write a 400 page novel and ask someone to buy it?  Who do I think I am?

So I made the decision–until it’s done, sign, sealed and delivered…I will tell no one, and everyone who knows will tell no one under penalty of death (okay, not a literal death, but a good bout of the silent treatment–which can be, might I add, can be lethal).  I made the choice to play all of this close to chest, keep it as a guarded secret, near and dear.

It seems like a reasonable question to wonder why, if I kept so mum, I’d be so open here.  Well, this is what I wanted–what I always wanted.  The connection, the freedom and liberation of joy and fear.  Blogging with you all, it’s given me the chance to just talk…to say the craziest things and be heard.  Because the way it is, you’ve all been my allies.  You’ve all entertained my wildest dream and indulged it by not only visiting, but reading and signing up for subscriptions.  It’s been the best of best, the biggest cherry on top of this sundae, and I squeal with joy over every comment.  You all are the light in the dark places of this adventure.  You all are the courage I need to take myself seriously–and that’s pretty serious.

And that’s been wonderful.  It’s given me wings to fly around and explore what it means to be a writer.  I’ve started this blog, I’ve joined a forum, I’ve been able to embrace my moniker and figure out my path and make my way.  But, we’re getting close to truth-telling-time.  Eventually, within the coming months, I’ll have to start owning the fact that–yes, I wrote a book and yes, it’s published, so yes, I’m an author.

So, how do you do that?  How do you cast aside self doubt and just make the bold statements that let everyone in?  It seems so simple and feels so impossible–all in the exact same moment.

It appears to be a delicate balance…so I have question for all of you…how did you do it?  How did you drop the curtain and come out with?

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2 thoughts on “A Small Truth

  1. Squeal-inducing comment time! 😀

    How do I come out and tell people I’m an author? Well, if I didn’t, I’d feel I have precious little to say.
    (Them: “So, are you in school?”
    Me: “No.”
    Them: “How’s work?”
    Me: “I’m not working, at present.”
    Them: “… So…what do you do?”
    Me [abruptly enthusiastic]: “I write books!”)
    And frankly, I’d much rather talk about my writing than myself. (No idea why; ask the psychotherapist I’m often shocked that no one’s sent me to, yet.) Do I want to let my family members actually *read* my fiction? No-o-o, not until it’s published. (Exceptions: My sisters. I enjoy reading my stuff to them, when they’ll let me.) But I’ll say loud and proud that I’m an author, because it’s such a large part of my chosen identity.
    Telling everyone and their grandmother in Blog Land about it… *that’s* what makes me squirmy.

    ‘Twould seem I’ve found my Opposite Buddy, in you. (:

  2. You’re right–of course–it’s a choice. One I made, brimming with all of the implications and fulfillment. I chose to tell a story, to publish it. I should be proud, and I will be…in time. It’s hard to explain that all of this is done by inches, feet and miles–the marathon philosophy of writing a novel.

    And yes…clearly we’re opposites…but that’s not a bad thing!

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