This picture is of the bluff where Laney lived with her grandmother. Of course, the one in the book is made up but this is the one I based it upon. This bluff exists in the lake where I grew, a place where I felt most free and also most trapped. As a child, I lived in the woods, the water, the mountains. As a young adult, I lived in my mind, in my books, in my anger.
The woods, the water, the mountains, the mind, and the books are still here but that anger has died. It has been replaced with determination and desire. And right now, that anger is also replaced with fear.
I’ve been having dreams this past week. Anxiety-fueled dreams that wake me up filled with belief that they are real.
No one shows up to my readings or just a few people show up or people show up but don’t care. All of this is wrapped up in my anxiety, of course, because this weekend I will be presenting THE BOOK OF LANEY for the first time. On Saturday night (3/28) at 7PM, I’ll be at Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport and then on Sunday at 2PM, I’ll be at Newtonville Books in Newton Center.
I’ve had my share of readings and reading in front of an audience is something I enjoy doing. So why the fear and worry?
Maybe it is because I feel a great deal of responsibility with this book. It’s not like I haven’t felt responsibility with my other books but with this one I am hoping to reach a specific audience of young people and maybe make a difference for them. I feel responsible that this book speaks authentically from the voice of a fifteen-year-old. I feel responsible that the material be treated with the seriousness and respect it is due. I feel responsible to victims and also to those who feel an urge to victimize. I want this book to help heal those who need healing and to reach those who are nearly out of reach.
Of course, I have no control over any of this but being given the opportunity and the honor to speak and read in front of an audience is one way in which I can reach out and with that comes the pressure to make it count.
I will make it count. I promise you I will. If you will meet me there, I will be there for you. Thank you to those who have already read this book and let it speak to them. Thank you to those who have let me know what it meant to them. You have given me such hope.
Thank you for coming to the bluff with me and remembering how we can come back to ourselves. Even in our darkest moments we have that possibility.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for hearing me.