Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tethered in the Crown Catalog

By Amy MacKinnon

It's on the Internet, out there for everyone to see, and yet, I feel intensely shy about sharing it with all of you. It's four pages of my novel in Random House's fall 2008 Crown Catalog (see page 118). Hmmm.

My dearest friend in the world is now reading Tethered for the second time. She said she reads a sentence, pauses, and then re-reads, trying to find me within it. She can't. This is a person who has known me over twenty years, we've shared everything of our lives --dorm rooms, first loves, true loves, children, angst -- and yet she has never been privy to the person she found contained within those pages. Who are you, she asked.

It isn't a story about me, I explained, you know that. But it is reflective of the way I process the world, a deeply intense, painful realization of the lives of others. Maybe it's my survivors guilt. I have been blessed with a loving family, good health, opportunities where so many others have not. Or maybe it's just a simple story. I don't know, I don't.

What I do know is that it is more of me than I've ever shared with another and now I'm giving it to the world. It's a terrifying prospect.


Therese said...

It IS scary to be so visible...but you're making the transition easier on yourself with offerings like today's catalog link.

I went through a period of feeling exposed, especially around the end of Feb. when SOUVENIR came out in Germany and was just out here.

Now? :shrugs:

These upcoming pre-pub months may be anxious ones for you, just because of the suspense. From what I see, though, the book will do you proud and all will be well.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Wow, Amy, the catalog is amazing--and makes me want to dive in for more.

It is a very vulnerable feeling--having your words out there for all to see . . . and draw interpretations. But you'll be great and your book will find its readers.

Enjoy the ride!

Anonymous said...


Carleen Brice said...

The fear will pass, Amy. It is strange though that fiction feels more revealing than essays to me. However, like Therese said I'm at the shrugs point too.

Now I'm off to read the catalog!

Lisa said...

A comparison to Donna Tartt! What a compliment and if you didn't already have me -- that would do it. I wrote a post and put it up on line late last night and then -- I deleted it. It was about the odd feeling I have when those who've known me longest read things I write. It doesn't bother me when strangers read me, but I always fear that close friends and relatives will draw more personal interpretations of the work than I intend -- that they'll believe that the feelings and actions of my characters are all about me. What ever will they think? It's good to hear from those who've gone through this that the anxiety passes. But I read this and I think I know exactly how you feel! The good news is that I think the courage to write powerful emotions and pain makes for some of the best work.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Amy, I completely understand. It is your child you gave birth to it. How could you not feel so connected to it? I can't wait to see it. This is so exciting!

Larramie said...

Donna Tartt, oh my! Except you're still Amy with a compelling yet gentle voice, at least that's what the excerpt assures me.

So, perhaps, the answer to your friend's "Who are you?" is: One amazing writer!

Thank you for sharing, Amy.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Thanks to each and every one of you. It is incredibly reassuring the have each of you prop me up in the weeks to come.

Yes, my essays did not lay me nearly so bare. I can't wait for the shrugs stage, Therese, Judy, & Carleen. Kira, I feel exactly the same way. Lisa, we sare so alike. Ello, this is a difficult birth, but my last child was 10 1/2 pounds and that was far, far worse. Daisy, it's nice to know how others perceive me: gentle voice. I like that.


Anonymous said...

Just read the excerpt. I need more pages. It ended way too soon and was beautiful.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Oh, Usman, thank you.


Anonymous said...

I had a similar response from my best friend. Agreeing to let her read my novel (and waiting for her response) was far more difficult than sending it out to agents. I wouldn't let her read it until an agent believed in me first. How crazy. She had mainly positive comments, but she too expected it to be about my friends and family more directly. It's hard to explain to non-writers how stories get made up in our brains, isn't it?

I read the Tethered excerpt! Your writing is so vivid as I knew it would be from reading your blog. I can't wait to buy it and read the rest. (I am one of those daughters who is reminded of her precious mother by verses in an old song as well as books on my children's shelves...I loved that part.) I stopped myself from reading the summary as I avoid book jackets in case they give too much away!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Tara, what I was trying to express about my friend's reaction is that she saw another side of me that I had previously kept more subdued. She knew how I perceived the world to a degree, just not how darkly. It's complicated and I may have even misinterpreted my friend's response.

And thank youf ro your kind words about Tethered. You're one of the few people I know who doesn't like to read jacket copy too. I love being surprised!


Patry Francis said...

Don't try to explain it--even to yourself. Clearly, it's a gift and a powerful, transformative one--not just for you but for the millions of readers you will soon attract.

The excerpt is beautiful and completely captivating.

Brava, my dear.