When at any given time, something wonderful might pop up, whether in the black mailbox on my house or the little electronic inbox in my groupwise account. Like the message I got today from poet Marguerite Bouvard telling me that her book, Mothers in All But Name, with my essay, “One Morning in May” in it, had finally found a publisher.
The essay had been accepted in Fall 2004 but I hadn’t heard from her since then and I’d all but given up. In fact, weary of changing the date from “forthcoming 2006” to “forthcoming 2007,” and then “forthcoming 2008” I had actually deleted the entry from the most recent draft of my CV/resume. I don’t know why I gave up so quickly; God knows, I know how long these things can take. Can It Really Be Taught: Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy, the book Kelly Ritter and I issued the Call for in spring 2002, did not see publication until spring 2007.
So now I can put the essay back on with “forthcoming 2009” on it. Telling a story about my “former life” experience as a Nanny, it’s a piece that’s very dear to my heart. Look for more news when the book comes out.
In other news, I can thank Heather Sellers’ great book Chapter After Chapter, for talking me down from a “Sexy Next Book,” crisis. Sexy Next Book is the well known phenomena whereby a fascinating, all encompassing book idea throws itself at you while you’re deep in the middle of another book. Sexy Next Book is one of my biggest challenges as a writer. I had this memoir idea a few days ago and began to get swept away. I started taking notes, starting doing research, it was the PERFECT memoir for me to write, after all. So perfect, I was practically breathless.
Even in the beginnings of my new affair, I had bursts of sanity. “I think I might be going down the “sexy new book” road again,” I told my husband nonchalantly, struggling to hide how badly I was jonesing to get on the internet right then and start the research.
“Why don’t you do that exercise Sellers had in her book,” he suggested offhandedly (he always suggests things offhandedly). “To see if it’s the real thing.”
To make a long story short, I didn’t even have to do the exercise. Oh sure, I flirted a little this morning, took several pages of notes, looked some stuff up online. But then I borrowed back my copy of Chapter After Chapter (he’s teaching it this semester) and felt myself calming down and coming to my senses just a few pages into that eponymous chapter. The memoir idea will keep; I’m pretty sure the experience is unique enough that no one will beat me to it. Burning Down the Garrett, the creative writing in higher ed book I’m working on now, won’t. Either someone else will beat me to it or no one will care about the subject by the time I get it finished and hopefully, published.
Deep breath. The notes are there. As long as I don’t lose it, the great new notebook my friend, Monda gave me will keep sexy next book safe for me until I’m ready to give it my all.
Untill then, I’ll just keep you in suspense.