T Minus 9 and Counting

In a little over eight hours, the clock will tick over to May 13th, at which point I will officially become the author of a second book, Along Those Lines: The Boundaries That Create Our World.

It's a little different from the day before The Verb 'To Bird' was published. Back then, I didn't have any idea what I was getting myself into, and the stark fact of publication was there to mark my passage into a new state, that of Author. Before that, when I had articles and reviews and other small pieces turning up in publications of various sorts, I could (and did) consider myself a writer, but there's something different in seeing your name on a book's spine. You suddenly have a place on shelves, typically between alphabetically similar authors, and you feel as though this new place is one that you yourself claimed, like Columbus planting his flag on New World soil.

The ludicrous simile there is intentional, because the idea of a writer claiming Authorial Status all by his lonesome is much like the idea of giving Columbus credit for discovering the New World; not only was the territory already occupied by millions of others, but Chris couldn't even have reached that island without the efforts of scores of other people. Sure, his name is the one on the spine, so to speak, but there were at least three boatfulls of people contributing to his status.

My own boats include crewmen like Paul Dry and Will Schofield of Paul Dry Books; interview subjects such as Mike Beard, Matt Boesen, Tim Gallagher, Ethan Gamache, Greg Jacobs, Abigail James, Matthew Keating, Joan Lipsitz, Kevin McGowan, Shawn Smith, and Ursula Vernon; blurbers such as Will Blythe, Miyoko Chu, Caroline Leavitt, Gretchen Moran Laskas, Maria Mudd Ruth, and Katharine Weber; idea people like Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Russell Galen, Gary Glass, and Elizabeth McCullough; and of course supportive family members like Dick & Suzy Cashwell, Ian & Dixon, and proofreader/partner/arm candy Kelly Dalton. Without them, I would look even stupider standing next to this flag and proclaiming my authorship.

One thing is very different about today, though: the internet. In March of 2003, e-books were still largely theoretical, and today, there are people who have already purchased and finished reading ATL on their Kindles and Nooks. The "publication date" for a book is now less of a big deal.

And yet.

I've been working on this book for the better part of eleven years now, from one end of the country to the other, through radically different approaches and frustrating comments from readers and agents and publishers. When May 13th comes, it will be an event to celebrate, no question, but it will also be a relief. In that, I suspect the common metaphor of pregnancy and publication is an accurate one; there comes a time when a mother not only wants her baby, but is also ready to Not Be Pregnant Anymore. And now, with contractions under way and the water thoroughly broken, I am looking forward to cutting the cord at long last.

In short, tonight at midnight, part of me will be breaking out the champagne, and part of me will be breaking out the scissors.

But for everyone who's been putting up with me during this extended process, let me extend one more note of gratitude. And for those of you who's been patiently waiting to pick up your copy of ATL and see what all the fuss is about, let me assure you that your wait is almost over.

I think it will be worth it.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on May 12, 2014 3:15 PM.

Perfect Birding was the previous entry in this blog.

Along Those Lines is the next entry in this blog.

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