Well, at the end of a long day, two dogs sacked out next to me and our oldest cat somewhat skittishly on the arm of my couch, I have to look back at it and really try to take stock of it. The book came out today, and I did, in fact, see it “in the wild” on a shelf (well, on a dolly waiting to be shelved), which was needless to say very exciting. It also is kind of odd that there’s a calmness to this excitement, mixed with a large part of gratitude and introspection regarding all the people who helped bring this book into being. I’ve come to realize that, with any production of writing into a public medium (a book, online, wherever), there are a whole host of people who helped it along its way. We take this for granted with movies-that it’s never one person’s work that springs from his or her forehead, but with novels-when it makes the transferrence from writing into a book (if that makes sense), I think the culture kind of assumes that it’s that singular person carving a block of wood into a statue in the middle of the woods. OK, weird metaphor, but I think you see the point. The point is, there are a ton of “producers” and “editors” and “set designers” that bring a book into being. It’s truly a collaborative effort. What’s going to be interesting, I suspect, in the next ten years is how these interrelationships are going to change with the advent of more fully digital book distribution. But that is another blog post…
So if you get the book and you read it and want to drop me a line, feel free to. Would love it. Even if you don’t like the book or have mixed feelings about it-that’s okay; no one is forced to like everything.
Also, if you can’t buy the book, libraries are truly awesome and your friends! Request the book at your friendly local library. That way, you can think of it as regifting it for someone else who might stumble upon it on the shelf…
FINALLY, I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how the writing we do intersects with the political realities we are faced with in our current day. Some of my latest stories (such as the one in Interfictions 2-speaking of a great assemblage of collaborative energy!) and of course Total Oblivion delve into these issues as part of their fictional underpinnings. But if there’s the opportunities for something more, even in a small way-the tiniest platforms that our writing affords us-then we should do our best to seize them.
And in particular, regarding families around the world who are uprooted as refugees, in dangerous, frightening situations — this is something that isn’t a fictional abstraction, but something that happens every day.
Mercy Corps is a charity that I really believe in, and have for years. They do amazing work with refugee and displacement crises, among a host of other complex issues. I’ve set up an online fundraising page for them. I do hope that, if you’re passionate about these social justice issues (and I know you are!), you’ll make a donation to Mercy Corps here. Even a small amount would be absolutely superb.
But wait, there’s more! In order to provide a more direct engagement with the book, if you make a donation on this page, drop me a quick note (adeniroATgmail.com) and I’ll send you something extra: a one-of-a-kind paragraph of ephemera and apocrypha set in the world of the novel, made just for you! It could be a snippet of a travelogue from a city unwritten about along the Mississippi, an Imperial naturalist’s description of strange flora and fauna of Middle America, a postcard from a soldier in the Bemidji Irregulars back home to mom. Anything and more. And I can send it by post or email. I’m easy. (River transport of mail post is forthcoming.) Just let me know which you’d prefer and I’ll get it out to you in about a week. So hopefully we can, in some small way, assist others in making an impactful change.
Because the most important piece of the puzzle I described above, in terms of a novel as a collaborative effort, is the reader. Without the reader, the work doesn’t live and breathe. And perhaps this is a way we can together make the work live and breathe in a real-life way.
And thanks out there. For everything.