We’re having a brief Hallelujah dance here at my humble shack. On Tuesday I finished the last, long revision of the novel The Invention of Colors. At least four years it was in the oven, and now it’s nice and crispy with a golden color. I knew I was close to finishing the book, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I hoped it would be in a state of utter perfection before I left for a trip to Europe for a couple of weeks, which will be two weeks from Monday. And here I am, a full fortnight early (I think “fortnight” means two weeks).
Now that the novel is, in fact, in a state of utter perfection, I have given it to three readers for their comments, to make it even more. . . Hmm, wait, how can it be more perfect than utter perfection? There’s some kind of paradox here. Oh, and did I use the phrase “beta readers” to describe them? I want to make sure I use as much jargon as possible to show I’m in the club. Though when you think about it, it’s a club that mostly has writers as members, so why would any rational person want to be in a club like that?
I’ll tell you honestly, because that’s how I am, and you know that, I feel pretty damn good about this book. I think it’s going to go somewhere, and I recognize how dangerously cocky it is to say that here, because 1) I’m nobody, and 2) if I’m wrong, whoo, will I look stupid. Then again, if I look stupid, who’ll know? I’m nobody.
In November I’m going to a writer’s conference here in Atlanta, and I’ve signed up to talk to one literary agent and one publisher. Oh, and did I use the phrase “make a pitch” to describe those talks? Because the jargon thing, you know.
So what else is happening in my astonishingly interesting literary life? You sit wondering silently. When I get home from Europe, the short story collection I’d Tear Down the Stars will be coming out, and my publicist is arranging a book release party. Left to my own sad devices, I’d never have such a party, because I didn’t even know they exist. A book release party? Huh? A whut?
This will be a cool thing, I think, and when I say “cool” I mean Moses coming down from the sky in a turquoise chariot with crimson robes flying behind him. More or less. Plus a chicken that does tricks. And me. I come on after the chicken, but I don’t do tricks, and if that chicken upstages me, somebody’s looking at biscuits and gravy.
Seriously—and when am I not serious—I’ve rented the Highland Inn Ballroom just off Ponce de Leon Avenue, and on Sunday October 9, we’ll make people laugh, cry, and ponder the meaning of life, especially if they use the bar on the premises. I’ve got other writers who will join me for the book release, and they will be reading from their own works as well, and we’ll have some music courtesy of my brother. If you plan to attend from around the country, go ahead and buy your plane tickets.
In the meantime, now that the current novel is done, I’m thinking about the next book, already making notes on it. That book will take place in my hometown of Gainesville, Georgia, about a 45-minute drive from where I live. I even have a working title, which will surely change, but it’s rare for me to have a title so early. Other than calling it “the Gainesville book”, which I will, I also think of it with the name Moonapple Pie. How do you like that? In my deepest imagination, that book already struts like a giant. I know how silly that is, but maybe that’s how these big things get done. You dream them first.