There was a great political cartoon, I don’t know by whom, before the last Federal government budget was delivered, showing a person in front of the television, asking his wife, “Is it possible to be bored and alarmed at the same time?” (Much the way I feel about the very imminent federal election this weekend.) Now that my book is off somewhere being toiled over and whacked into existence and glued into covers somewhere in a printer’s this week, I wonder if it’s possible to be thrilled and nervous and blank all at the same time.
I am feeling very good about the writing in the book, the cover design and the blurb and the news that bookshop subscriptions are going well. That’s all good. I’m relieved as hell that I’ve finally got a new book coming out. And I’m looking forward to finding what people think of it.
But at the same time I’m nervous, here am I writing about really intimate things again, what if this is a second-book disaster, what if people are out to get me, what if I muck up the publicity I have to do?
And then at the same time I am weirdly calm, uninterested, shruggy. But I think I am starting to exhibit signs of unwitting, subconscious anxiety: first I completely refiled everything on my computer, then I pillaged my inbox and filed everything, and now I have embarked on the fairly pointless exercise of cataloguing my entire book collection on Library Thing. Obsessive-compulsive busywork much?
Funnily enough I am not applying the same fretful diligence to my housework.
Meanwhile I just had a lovely experience this morning. There I was in my gym yoga class, flailing and bending and stretching, looking quite unlovely I should think, and the girl behind me kept catching my eye in the mirror and smiling at me. I thought she was commiserating at what a numptie I looked. But it turns out she is an actor who played a sex worker in a tv show (which I reviewed) and she said In My Skin was their bible and she’d read it several times and that the morning my review of her show came out she and one of the other actors got up early to get the paper and broke out the champagne when it was a good review.
It’s a really weird, but delightful thing, when I realise that what I type away in the solitude of my office actually goes somewhere. Sorry that you’ve spent the whole class with my bum in front of you, I said, but she said she hadn’t noticed, and gave me a hug instead. And how funny that that show, which I liked a lot and which reminded me of my own sex work experiences, was even just a mite informed by what I wrote about those experiences!
I don’t mean to sound like an egomaniac, but it just goes to show, writing gets out there. I must remember that next time I think that my job is one of the most self-indulgent in the world!