In which I talk about the book

I have not talked much about the book, the book that I wrote, that an agent represents, for which a book deal has been drafted but not signed.

Nearly a year has passed since I have seen the draft of the book deal. Since that time, I’ve been waiting to sign something. I’m dying to John Hancock the heck out of a book deal. But after all these months of uncertainty, I don’t know if the book will ever be published because I don’t know the terms of the negotiations between publisher and agent.  I worked hard for a long time on the book and I hawked it at every conference and waited for a long time for Very Important Publishing People to notice my book sitting alone at the cafeteria and to invite it over to their table.

When I got the book offer, I finally felt like I had found my table in the cafeteria and that there would be outstanding conversations and mediocre Jell-o on trays for all times.

Then, the VIPPs at my table went over to other tables to have other conversations about the book. I wasn’t involved in those conversations which seemed to volley back and forth over weeks that turned into months.

I surrendered my expectations and there was freedom in that.

But then I sort of stopped caring about the book deal and the Jell-o. People stopped dropping by my table in the proverbial cafeteria to ask about the book. I stopped asking about the book. I picked up my backpack and went back to class.

In recent days, I started to feel very convicted about my surrender which had turned into apathy. Langston Hughes was all up in my head with notions of a dream deferred. Would my plump li’l grape of a manuscript start drying out like a raisin in the sun? Why read all this Brene Brown if I’m not going to Dare Greatly or Rise Strong but instead reject vulnerability in favor of taking a nap on this book project, indefinitely.

So much of the joy in writing had been processing of my experiences in marrying cross-culturally. I was filled with hope that the accounts would somehow help other couples walking a similar path. I fought for my marriage and I am still fighting the temptation that is ever-present in marriage to kick back into cruise control. Why was I not fighting for this book?

While writing this post, my agent e-mailed me to let me know that the publisher will be going over the legal beagle notes and other things about which I have no authority or expertise. I shall be too busy slurping Jell-O and dreaming of one day signing a book deal, like for reals, y’all.

***

A little talisman from one of my favorite authors Amber C. Haines whose inscription on her book Wild in the Hollow is much cherished and encourages my heart whenever I happen upon it.

Amber HainesAmber Haines

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All the pictures we did not take

We rented paddleboards on the Tennessee River this past weekend and there are no pictures to prove it. We took the kids and we met up with dear friends, but you won’t see any selfies of our imperfect formation in the wake of a passing motorboat. We traded kids and played in eddies and explored McClellan Island. We balanced and wobbled, we fell in and then we dove in. But there is no hashtag #riverlife to accompany the nonexistent Instagram post. We didn’t have our cameras. We didn’t bring anything save for our sunglasses and our holiday spirits.

Here in this digital space, The Blog or whatever is most en vogue to call it, I purport to preserve life’s moments and lessons. But this all is a pantomime, a chasing after the wind with a plastic bag from Tarjay. I am merely a scribe pressing key to pad, uploading and downloading, but never truly etching anything of real permanence. Nothing is solidified in amber here. There is no fire to singe or moth to destroy this album. There is also no firewall strong enough nor anti-viral software to guarantee its immortality.

 

This past weekend, we smelled all the seasons of putrid sweat that our life preservers absorbed. And we tried to absorb the life that we could not preserve.

There was no perfect filter to best capture the glistening waves, the silhouette of the Market Street Bridge.

No likes, no faves, no hearts, no mentions; only the feeling of total insignificance against nature’s majesty. And the wonder of having captured nothing but being filled up full of every good thing.

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