The last few months have been quite a whirlwind. It feels, to be honest, as though these things–publishing a book, getting book reviews, planning readings–are happening to someone else. As if this is not my life that I am talking about. It feels good (don’t get me wrong) but the feeling is fleeting. It’s as though I don’t want to hold on to it for too long for fear of it going away.
Those of use who write know that writing is not a luxury; it requires sacrifice from all aspects of our life. Words do not magically appear on a page, and suddenly, POOF! a book. It has taken me 7 years to get Gabi, A Girl in Pieces published. That came with a lot of rejections, revisions, and more revisions. At times I felt like it would never happen. And then I remembered that it took Dr. Seuss 27 rejections before he published And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. Rejection, perseverance and patience are part of a writer’s daily vocabulary.
So these last few months I have been editing. I received my ARC (advanced readers copy) in the mail and began reading through it. Changing things, checking spelling, making sure that I spelled characters’ names correctly, and tightening up what needed to be tightened up. Doing everything possible to make sure that when you get your copy of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces you will not be disappointed. Though I know that is inevitable; no soy monedita de oro. Pero en fin, I’ve done my best and Lee Byrd from Cinco Puntos Press is an amazing editor so I am confident in the final draft.
When the ARC arrived in the mail my mom waited and watched as I anxiously tore at the envelope. She blurted out, “I knew that’s what it was and I wanted to open it but knew that I shouldn’t!” Only she said it in Spanish. She was and is very excited about all of this, and it feels good to make your parents proud, even at 32 when we are supposed to have all our shit together (that is not always the case). I held it in my hands, looked it over and took in the moment. What does it mean to have a book you’ve written in your own hands? Well, to me it means that all the hard work, query letter, rejections, late nights, talking to myself, making my husband listen to the same chapters countless different ways, fitting writing in whenever I could, asking friends to please look this copy over (again), and emotional upheaval (yes, this book was an emotional journey for me) was worth it.
Like I said, writing is not a luxury. It is a necessity for my being, for my happiness. It makes me whole.
The book comes out in about a month. In a month people will read what I have written. Will get to know the characters I’ve created, and hopefully connect with them or identify with them in some way. I hope. Or they will hate the book. They may hate it. But that’s okay. You can’t please everyone.
So far I’ve gotten a few reviews and they have been positive (you can read those in the reviews section of my page). And also California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera gave me the thumbs up, and said he enjoyed the book. So did the amazing Chicana poet Michele Serros. That felt pretty good. Who am I kidding? That felt freaking amazing! Especially since both have been an inspiration in my writing.
One month. One more freaking month until I get to share my baby with you. I can’t wait.