Book in the Hand

A cardboard box of advance reader copies of my book–my first book–appeared in the mail. Returning home from work and school, my daughters and I had gone in through the kitchen door, and it wasn’t until I was at the kitchen counter slicing tomatoes for dinner that through the window I saw the box on the stone step at the back door.

It was the most curious feeling to pull out crumpled paper and find my bound  books, so beautifully designed, crafted with such care and attention–this novel I have spun from nothing but my own experience and language, through all those hours scavenged, often late at night, early in the morning, during child naptimes. Like nothing else, this book in my hand is a bridge between the mysterious well of my working imagination and the world, a tangible here I am.

Whenever we give our pen some free will, we may surprise ourselves. All that wanting to seem normal in regular life, all that fitting in falls away in the face of one’s own strange self on the page. […] Writing or making anything — a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake — has self-respect in it. You’re working. You’re trying. You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up.

–– Sharon Olds


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