Why would anybody do this?
By “this” I mean sit nearly immobilized for 30 hours on a holiday weekend, hands on laptop keys, nose red and congested, with hot drinks nearby, cold medicine taken in bulk, brain addled and fogged and a little delirious. Why write a book when there are papers to grade, soups to heat, bills to pay, dishes to wash, house to decorate, curative sleep to be coaxed, coddled and hopefully enjoyed?
This is a profoundly stupid question because OF COURSE there is no reason except the story is there, in one’s head, amidst the other joys, tribulations, and chaos of a well-lived life.
Stories must come out. They must be borne.
Sometimes I think of it this way (when I think at all): Just as a painting “longs” to grace a wall, a story longs to be told. It does not need justification. It is its own justification.
In other words, stories only need to be, and if they are read, so much the better, for their existence solidifies and expands. And like the magic stuff of the universe that we call “matter,” a story cannot be destroyed at any time in any way. It only changes form: from a vague theme and a tinkering of ideas; to a playful sketch of time and place and person; to a euphoric weaving of untamed threads; to a nitpicking, tedious and mind-numbing editing process that makes you so crazy that you wonder if you’ll ever look at a book again. And then, finally—oh yes, finallyfinallyfinally—to the poignant and thrilling launch of “Baby” from the Nest into the vast, terrifying, and gleeful unknown.
In this particular case, the book is called Silent Bird, so this Nest metaphor seems especially apt. And the title may be Silent Bird, but the writing process was Noisy Bird, as this story has been swooping, plummeting, pecking, straggling, limping, and soaring around in my head for two decades now. This story is my original grown up novel. It has experienced so many rewrites that it is definitely a candidate for dissociative identity disorder.
I can’t believe The Bird has finally flown!
Hallelujah. Let me get rid of the baby stuff and paint the room and get my hair done and go on a vacation.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just write a blog entry and organize my January 11 book launch at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, an independent book store here in San Diego, and go rest my brain by watching the Simpsons on TV or maybe…wow, what a concept!…read a book.
I would like to thank my writer friends and workshop comrades. I would like to thank my family for putting up with me, and my computers for not crashing. I would like to thank the Southern California Writers Conference for honoring this story, and thus encouraging me, in 2009. I would like to thank Mysterious Galaxy for supporting local authors (Twice Begun on sale there now and Silent Bird in January). I would like to thank Mark Clements for his AWESOME book cover art and Irene Weiss for her wonderful song “Together Again,” which will go on my book trailer and hopefully, one day, the audiobook. I would also like to thank Top Hat Entertainment in New York, which is creating my newest book trailer.
More information about the Silent Bird book launch on January 11, 2014 will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the trade paperback will be available very soon. In the meantime, check out the Kindle version at the following link.
P.S. A picture book called THE HOUSE THAT SNEEZED will be coming soon! This is a book “written” by the protagonist in SILENT BIRD, and aims to help small children talk about and understand loss. More news forthcoming…