I just made myself a cup of green tea. The tag on the tea bag string said: “Live in your strength.” But right now I am overcome with emotion and do not feel very strong. It’s not that I think being emotional is weak; I do not. In fact, I believe being emotional is all strength and necessary. It is that I am allowing myself to fall into the arms of all of you who are standing beside me, holding me up. I am allowing myself to hear your kind and supportive words and allowing myself to accept those words as truth.
I have been superficially strong and now I’m letting that guard down and saying “yes” to you. I am saying thank you to you. I am letting my gratitude flow outward and upward and onward. I hope that you feel it.
Let me back up a minute.
Today, March 6th, is the official launch day for my debut novel, Echolocation.
I know it might feel to some that this book is already out in the world (and, indeed, it is), but this is the day that is its publication date. This day. Three days after my mother’s birthday. She would have been 80, though she would have lied shamelessly about it and told you she was 60.
It is significant to me, then, that my book is a Pisces. Pisces are kind and nurturing. Pisces have big hearts.
It is also significant to me that this book is being published by Victoria Barrett at Engine Books. She is someone I have long admired. She is strong and independent and loyal and absolutely kind. No matter what happens from here on out, I will consider her not just my publisher and editor, but also my friend. It is significant to me that my agent, Penn Whaling, has stood beside me for years without ever making a cent on my work and yet she still kept believing in me. I value her integrity and her loyalty and her belief in me. I will be forever loyal to her.
It is significant to me that I have my dear friends by my side, cheering me on and reminding me that they always knew this day would come.
It is beyond significant to me that I have my husband and my son and my extended family by my side. I cannot live without them.
I’m having a hard time expressing exactly how I feel at this moment, and so instead I will tell you a story. A few days ago, I returned from the AWP (Association of writers and writing programs) conference in Chicago. While I was there, I spent time at the Engine Books table signing books and talking to people. Just before my final signing, I went out to lunch with some friends. One of those friends was Kim Chinquee, who is not only a talented writer but a wonderful human being. As I was talking to her about how I was feeling (which is basically overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude) she was looking at me with such kindness and empathy that I truly felt I would break down right there at the table in the restaurant in front of everyone. And I didn’t care if I did. The emotion coming from her to me was absolutely pure and filled with nothing but kindness and understanding.
That same outpouring of emotion, my friends and family, is what I am feeling from you right now. I feel it from those of you who have read my book. I feel it from those of you who have extended yourself to help get the word out about this book. I feel it from those of you who have encouraged me for years and never let me stop going.
I feel it. I am living in my strength and my strength right now is you.