I had dinner with my book agent, Esther Newberg, the other evening after class in New York City. When it came time to pay, I snatched the bill, at which point Esther said, “That’s the last time you’ll pay. An agent always pays for the author.” I looked over my shoulder to see whom she might be talking to. I had never been called an author before. But I suppose an author I now am.
I turned in the final manuscript of my book to Simon & Schuster yesterday. Yesterday was the day I’ve dreamt about for the past 14 months as I sat at the kitchen table (and on buses, airplanes, and in coffee shops) pouring my life onto a Word document. Yesterday was the day I imagined in the middle of so many sleepless nights as I lay churning over the content of the book, and worrying about the friends and family I’d neglected because the project was so all-inclusive. And then yesterday came.
So why don’t I feel relieved? Why haven’t I grabbed a bottle of champagne and invited friends over to celebrate? Why didn’t I sleep like a baby last night, and instead had frightening dreams of rejection from loved and respected people in my life? Why have I cried over every little thing for the last 24 hours—from a tire commercial to a stranger telling me that she liked what I was wearing?
I am broken open. I guess my lesson, once again, is to sit with this vulnerability and not run away.
The last time I went to a bookstore, I walked up and down the aisles in amazement that every one of those writers went through this process of heart-wrenching soul searching, deciding what from their lives to turn into print. I would love to ask them how they felt when the manuscript was turned in. In the meantime, if you call me today, I will cry and tell you how much I love you. I will wait patiently for the relief and satisfaction of saying I wrote a book. I am now an author.