I should begin this post by saying — I have amazing friends.
I have amazing friends who have always believed in me, and who have always pushed me to do more, deliver more, and make creative things happen.
And I have amazing friends who, in turn, do amazing things. They run podcasts. They write amazing articles for websites. They publish, they create, and they have put so many things out into the universe. And, generally, I cheer and offer support from the sidelines, because they are, in truth, kicking all the ass.
Sometimes, those friends do amazing things that help others do amazing things. And thus, a novel was born.
I wrote this novel a few years ago, as part of my first NaNoWriMo challenge. And then, true to form, I left the novel in my document cloud to collect dust. Why? I don’t know. I have a hard time believing in myself. Having my work out there for others to read and critique makes me feel vulnerable and exposed. And while this novel is far from autobiographical, I still wrote a lot of myself into the pages, and that also makes me feel vulnerable and exposed.
I’d pretty much resigned myself to the act of creating as my way of life. I was no longer concerned with completing a product or ever becoming published. I just wanted to enjoy the process. And while that sounds rather “zen,” it truly was a bit of a cop-out. If I never tried, I would never fail. If my work was never “out there,” I could more easily hide myself from harsh critiques and negative feedback. And if you know me well at all, you know that my totem animal is probably the Cowardly Lion.
Then, my good friend Elizabeth started No Cube Press. And she needed material. And it just so happened I had this novel laying around, collecting dust. So I mentioned I would work on getting it into a quasi-publishable state and send it her way.
And then I went through the long, arduous process of editing a paragraph every week or so.
My mom got sick. My grandmother got sick. After a heart-wrenching weekend of transporting my grandmother to a nursing home in South Carolina, having spent an entire morning in the floor at the foot of her wheelchair, hugging her knees and sobbing loudly while her open eyes regarded me with no response or recognition whatsoever, I got a message from Elizabeth letting me know she was going to send me a galley proof of this book I’d all but forgotten about. She said:
We witness birth, we witness death, and it’s messy on both ends. It’s ok. In the middle, we make art.
Not even a month later, I have an ISBN number to my name, and an author page on Amazon. And it is terrifying. It is all of the things I always feared. I worry I missed something. I worry the book isn’t truly finished. I worry people will read my book and discover things about my personality that they won’t like. I do feel naked and vulnerable and exposed. Posting the link to my book on social media may have been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
But I also feel immensely grateful. Eternally grateful, and infinitely loved. I never thought I would be here. Devon, the girl who can’t even finish her sentences. And now I have a novel. A novel that is currently number #310 on Amazon under the genre “Gay Romance.” That’s not nothing.
So, thank you — all of you, and especially those of you who’ve been on the crazy, ridiculously long journey with me from the very beginning. This would not be possible without your ongoing love and support, and I am deeply and thoroughly grateful.
I think it might be time to do some more writing.