Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So What's It Like?

By Amy MacKinnon

My email inbox is more full than ever before.  I've heard from long ago friends and complete strangers, all of whom have been supportive and kind.  To know there are people out there actually reading Tethered is a little jarring though, like someone poking around the shadowlands within me.

Neighbors I've never met have stopped by to ask if I'm the one who wrote the book and then wished me well.

My father called the other day to say when he started his car, the radio came on, and my voice filled the space.  "You're like a Hollywood celebrity, Amy," he said.  There was a catch, but he swallowed it.  "Your mother and I are real proud of you."  I didn't tell him it was a very local show and the interview lasted only six minutes; we all want to believe our children are somehow special.

I've scrubbed the bathrooms and the windowsills, I've managed to vacuum every other day.  The laundry still gets away from me.

I walked past my local Barnes & Noble the other day and was a bit wistful to see the display window filled with books that came out the same time as mine.  This is my turf, I thought.  In the next moment, I accepted that my book was one among many and as Lynne says, we each have our own journey.  With my next step, I noticed another display window.  In it was a poster-sized photo of me and copies of only my book.  It reminded me to keep moving forward.

Most people don't know who I am, don't know that I've written a book, and don't care.

I've received my first 1-star review on Amazon.  I expected it to hurt.  Instead, it made me wonder about the laws of attraction.

I received my first newspaper review from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  This from a writing instructor.

My children and I finished their back-to-school shopping.  They'll be leaving me in a week's time, gone for hours each day.  I'll miss them terribly.

Yesterday at my local library, the place I learned to read, a librarian asked if I was the author of "that book."  She said there was a wait-list and she looked forward to reading it.  Another woman approached me with her two children in tow, "I saw you in the paper, you wrote that book. Congratulations." After I mumbled a thank you, she then turned to her kids and said, "This is a real live author, she wrote a book..."  Something to that effect.  I was too embarrassed, too shy to hear anymore much less do the proper thing and greet her children.  I promise to do better next time.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor's, the pharmacy, supermarket, and corner store.  No one knew or cared who I was.

Also yesterday, a package arrived from New York, something from my agent.  I opened it and was stunned to discover a gorgeous fountain pen inscribed with the title of my book and its pub day. She believes in me and that is why you need an agent.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a reading in Cambridge, MA with Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader.  It's sponsored by two favorites: Grub Street and Porter Square Books.  Those will be some coattails.

I received a charming note from Ann Patchett in response to one I wrote her.  It's tucked away in the first copy of Tethered I received from my publisher.  If my house were on fire and my children safely out, I would race back in to save both. 

I sleep through the night now.


Lisa said...

I was thinking about you last night and wondering this very thing -- I wonder what it's like? How she feels? Thank you for sharing what it's like today. You sound peaceful and I am so happy to hear that. xo

Patti said...

wow. i walked along with you and started to believe...

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Amy, this captures beautifully the mixed emotions and turbulence of "release week". So glad you're sleeping through the night now. It's well-earned.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Lisa, tomorrow it may be completely different. I need to constantly remind myself that it is a marathon. And thank you for blogging about Tethered today. You've touched me deeply. I can't wait to return the favor.

Patti, you'd better believe. That's the only way to keep moving forward.

Judy, It's a kick, isn't it? And receiving your email was one of the highlights. The fact that you mentioned the last line was the highest compliment I could want.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Thank you for sharing. How wonderful to let us vicariously live the moments with you...

Amy MacKinnon said...

Deanna, you'll soon know when THE BELLY DANCER is released next year. It sounds great.

Lisa said...

P.S. I went and read the Amazon 1 star review and then I read the rest of the reader's reviews -- as I HOPE you did. Apparently she hates everything, so that one doesn't even count ;)

Allison Winn Scotch said...

What a wonderful post, Amy. It totally captures the experience. I hope more than anything though, you're enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

Your humility is what shines through in this post, for me.
You are blessed.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Lisa, you're a hoot! Again, laws of attraction.

Thank you, Allison. I think more than profound joy or desperation, what I'm experiencing is a sense of contentment, that I accomplished a long sought goal. Of course, I also like the challenge of getting this out to the world and making it noticed.

Usman, I am blessed and fortunate enough to realize it. I grew up with very little, though knew that I was rich because of my family, my good health, and having been born in a country that would allow me to work hard and overcome my circumstances. I couldn't ask for more, except to have friends like you.

Carleen Brice said...

You're through the hardest part now, Amy. Congrats on handling it so well! How lovely that your agent sent you a gift to commemorate your release! And so cool to have a note from Ann Patchett--I'm reading Run now.

One of my prized possessions is an out-of-the-blue email from Terry McMillan saying she was recommending my book to everyone. I printed it out and have it where I can see it regularly.

I saw a reader-review of my book the other day on a book club site that called it very disappointing and said something like "if you must read this book, borrow it. don't spend your $ on it." It really makes me wonder what the reader expected.

JKB said...

This is such an exciting post. I dream of this week you're going through, and I hope it's everything you want it to be!

I've ordered Tethered; waiting on it from the US to Germany takes four weeks, but I can't wait! Now if I could just get a signed copy...;)

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Gosh what a wonderful post! And I have my copy of Tethered waiting for me to read - and I stare at that cover in wonder because it is so lovely. And so are you! I'm so happy for you!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Carleen, Terry McMillan emailed you? And this is the first I'm hearing of it? I think I would have fallen to my knees and wept for joy that she knew of my existence. Did she buy your book? Crazy!

JKB, thanks so much for ordering the book. I truly appreciate it. And HUGE congratulations on getting an agent. I hear she's pretty good -- and appears to take on mostly horse lovers.

Ello, right back at you. You're in my prayer wheel during the querying process. You'll do it.