When a writer only has an audience of five — and I think one of them might have wandered off somewhere so I may be down to four — it is easy for her to forget that she should announce Enormous News for the rest of her imaginary audience. It occurred to me today that I may have forgotten to do that when I failed to mentioned that Booktrope accepted my manuscript under its Gravity Imprint.
Every morning I wake up and peek outside my drapes at the great outdoors that is my backyard where the grass has grown so tall my dog disappears in it and wonder what in the hell has happened in the world that has caused a publisher to decide it wanted to take a chance on me. I am so grateful for everyone at Booktrope and with Gravity to be so willing to give me this chance; I am also hoping they don’t realize they made — as the characters in Arrested Develop say repeatedly — “A terrible mistake.” But more about my book later.
In case the same usual five (possibly four) readers who loiter around my place haven’t noticed, there have been a whole lot of changes going on around here lately. They might have noticed I have a new web address and a whole new web design — this is still a work in progress, too. Fonts are changing almost daily along with colors. My little corner of the blogosphere is a little bit like Aurora’s dress from Sleeping Beauty, I have fairy godmothers circling around my streetlight with magic wands calling out hex codes, “No! it should be #1f2e41!” or “Let’s try #b69f33”.
Let me assure you sweet people, #b69f33 is a terrible choice.
I have had to do a lot of leaping into the mystical land of faith when usually all I do is trip or stumble into it instead, and this has been both terrifying and electrifying in equally large amounts. While I understand that I need to make myself more “present” and “available” to people, I am struggling the instinct to hide in my house more and more each day. The more I accept that I have to be “out there” further than my yard, the more I am cringing and becoming the dinkiest of Shrinky Dinks.
Giving my website a whole new design has been more than just finding a new theme and hanging new drapes. It was popping off the deadheaded blooms from the garden outside so that dead perennials could finally breathe again. Moving away from the black, white and gray was more than just letting go of my love for the vintage and antique, it was truly exposing Dorothy to Oz. But maybe with fewer munchkins because they always freaked me out when I was little.
The web designer working with me has been more than patient with me because he recognizes that I’m a bit of psychological mess when it comes to the way I relate to my old website and how I hid behind it. There’s been a lot of hand-holding involved while fairy godmothers fly around zinging hex colors here and there. The gray was depressing but I felt safe in that world of gray because I knew I could disappear inside it without blood-thirsty munchkins singing about dead witches. Or whatever.
As my book moves from layout to final review and then finally into publication, I will be even more exposed. Strangely, I don’t worry about criticism — I have experienced plenty of that already in my life so I’m not fearing people who don’t like it. It is the terror of my words not being safely shrouded in their gray cloaks anymore, of being held up to the light and reflecting color.
There are no more safe words left for me anymore, no more places left for me to hide. I can pull a blanket over me all through the night but once morning lights up my room I will have no choice but to accept that gray no longer exists.