I received proof copies of STAUNCH this week. These are the uncorrected proofs, bound like a book but not quite a finished one yet, which will be sent out to people as pre-publicity for the real book (which comes out in March).
It's a funny feeling. This is the third 'proper' book that I have written by myself (there have also been e-books and collaborative projects and many manuscripts that have never seen the light of day). I tried so hard to have a book published for so long, I thought I would feel very emotional about finally seeing my book as a real object. When it finally happened, there was a lot of other stuff going on and I didn't really give myself enough time or space to feel my feelings - curiously, I felt nothing. I didn't feel any of the validation that I had always assumed I would. I didn't even feel particularly proud of myself. It seemed entirely separate from me. I guess there's a lesson about unfillable spaces and how all the books and boys and drinks in the world won't make a difference.
This time, though, it was different. The box arrived and it took me a little while to open it. I circled it in my kitchen. The cat sat on it. I made myself a cup of coffee. I sat down and opened it slowly.
I bought myself flowers. I ate some cake. I set up a little shrine on my kitchen table, with candles and a few objects I had bought in India.
I sat there at the kitchen table, where I wrote the whole book. I felt really proud of myself. This book came from my guts and I am now actually really excited about it coming out into the world.
My boyfriend came home from work and I wouldn't let him touch it, but we danced around the kitchen.
'I'm proud of you,' he said.
And so am I.
STAUNCH. Coming March 2020.