My Book, My Birthday & Project Thick Skin
Here it is. My book! I know some of you have already seen the jacket pop up here and there on social media, but here it is! Admittedly, I'm wildly biased, but I love it. Getting to this final design was a fun process, which I'll share with you in a future post, but for now I just wanted to let you know that my novel The Ramblerswill be released by William Morrow on February 9, 2016 and it's officially available for preorder at the following outlets:
I know February is a way's off and I promise not to bombard you with too many book-related posts or announcements, but if you would like to be the first to get any of these announcements and information about upcoming events, please enter your email at the top of this page to be added to my mailing list.
Yesterday was my 37th birthday. Does anyone else feel weird about birthdays? I do. But my girls were so excited to celebrate and we had a great day. A simple and perfect day.
On Saturday night, Husband and I went for dinner downtown at Cherche Midi. I actually put on a dress and Middle Girl was simply incredulous - and approving - and snapped the above picture. Dinner was fun and delicious and we talked and talked at our little table about life and our girls and the year to come. On the way home, we stopped of course at Magnolia Bakery where I decided to try something new - the PB&J Cake, which honestly tasted like an actual peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Interesting, but not my favorite!
I woke up yesterday, on my birthday, and my girls ran to me and nearly knocked me down with their morning hugs. Husband documented the Rowley girl pile-on and I'm so happy he did.
My sweet Rowlets gave me the most thoughtful little gifts - a tiny owl notebook, a book about the Ramble in Central Park, a little faux nest with a little faux orange bird, a ceramic pencil jar, but my favorite was, as always, their art.
Last night, we went to Mom's for cake. And I heard from so many of you, which made my birthday that much better. Knock social media all you want, but it's a fabulous thing on birthdays.
Project Thick Skin
On Thursday, my publisher William Morrow hosted a media lunch for me and two other winter authors. Needless to say, after several years of doing the solitary writing bit, of rising at the insane hour of 4:30am and wrestling my story into submission, I was a bit nervous to get up and talk about my book to so many media heavy-hitters.
The morning before the lunch, I got a text from my friend and beloved literary agent Brettne Bloom. She was wishing me good luck at the lunch and she reminded me to smile and to breathe. I thanked her, and told her that I had a little extra armor thanks to the new Elizabeth Gilbert book, that her Big Magic came at the perfect time. I was thinking, in particular, of this passage:
"If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you've created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest -- as politely as you possibly can -- that they go make their own fucking art. Then continue stubbornly making yours." (Elizabeth Gilbert, BIG MAGIC)
I joked to Brettne that the book will be an integral part of a bigger project I'm now working on... Project Thick Skin. Brettne wrote:
Project thick skin is right. Can't please everyone. You have your tribe and that's what counts. Everything else is gravy. You have a great tribe of family and friends and you have a wonderful life. We are not refugees washing up on the shores of a foreign country, we are not closed minded crazies, we are not women in Africa who have to walk miles for water, we are not my friend going through another battle with cancer. That's all that matters in the end and it's important to keep in mind when your book goes out in the world. Not to say you can't suffer if there is criticism or be hurt. This is not to say I won't hold your hand and be there if you are feeling wounded. You absolutely can be wounded and you're allowed to feel happy about the good stuff. But you have to come back to that place of tribe and what matters.
Yes. I read her text again and again, and literally felt perspective forming, fortifying me. When it was time to head downtown for the big lunch, I walked to the subway and happened upon these bright, auspicious words:
When the express train came, I squeezed on and rode several stops sardined between strangers, jittery but okay. On a street corner, I leaned against a phone booth to change from flats to heels for the lunch and while doing so, I had a conversation with a friendly construction worker. It all felt very New York.
The lunch was at the gorgeous NoMad Hotel. Here I am, blurry with nerves, snapping a silly picture of the glass front doors, about to enter.
The lunch took place on the rooftop and the setting was absolutely exquisite. I met the two other William Morrow winter authors whose books were being featured: Julia Claiborne Johnson (Be Frank With Me) and Alison Gaylin (What Remains of Me). What wonderful, smart women and their books sound fantastic.
When the time came, I took a deep breath and stood up. I talked about myself and my book. I remembered to breathe. And to smile. And, yes, my nerves lingered, but they also faded fast. Once I got started, I felt the anxiety melt away and I felt very much at home, truly comfortable and truly jazzed to have this rare opportunity to speak about this novel which I care so much about. When the lunch was over and I went back out into the chilly fall New York City afternoon, I was simply electrified. Excited. It hit me: This is happening.
And it is.
My book will be out in the world in a matter of months, guys, and I hope that many of you (okay, all of you!) choose to read it and that if you read it, that you love it. But here's the thing, the thing I vow not to forget: no matter what happens, I will still be right here. In this city. At this screen. In this story of mine. With my family, my friends, with all of you, writing my little heart out, making my philosophical and perfunctory observations, asking my urgent and unwieldy questions, rambling along in this good and complicated life I love so deeply, so dearly.
Thank you all so much. For the love and support you've already given me over the years, for the love and support I will cling to - and celebrate - in the months to come. February 9th, baby. Here we come!