Friday, December 10, 2010

Pre-launch Insanity

The countdown to a book release is like the bastard hybrid offspring of a wedding, freak show, a final exam, and opening night, all rolled into one.  It's like a progressive illness with semi-predictable stages but no one thought to tell you what disease you have.  Or like giving birth, only it's very likely you won't be the proud parent of a new baby girl or boy.  Oh no.  For you, there's a bizarre third option, or even a fourth or fifth.  Something with antennae, or wings, or pyromaniac tendencies.

This is just a quick post intending to thank everyone for putting up with me, especially those closest to me (i.e. my family) and the one person forced to put up with me (i.e. my spouse).  However, as I slip further into pre-launch insanity, I realize what they actually deserve is an explanation of sorts.  Perhaps if they know the signs, they can foresee when to duck.  And perhaps, after my book has eaten me alive and regurgitated my shiny white bones, they will be able to honor my memory by officially naming a new disease in my honor: Keire Syndrome.

Daniel shall be forced to spell it correctly at the memorial banquet. (Insert evil laugh)

Part one:  Stage fright.  It starts as a curious rolling sensation in the belly, as if you mistakenly awoke on board a ship and have seasickness.  But no.  This would be much too fortunate, for it would mean you had been kidnapped by pirates and could therefore forget about the whole book launch fiasco entirely.  After all, a pirate kidnapping would be entirely too fortunate for the likes of you.  No, instead you wander aimlessly for a bit, staring at your coffee cup, wondering why you can drink as much coffee as you want but food has no appeal.  Perhaps you've been turned into a vampire and now there's simply no point in worrying about either solid food or book launches....

Part two:  Delusions.  No, you silly idiot.  Vampires do not exist, no one gets kidnapped by pirates in the 21st Century, your stomach is queasy because nerves + too much coffee= little appetite, and books do not launch themselves.  No, they do not.  You, yes you, must fight your urge to hide under the comforter and do it.  At this point you become convinced that you have written....

Part three: The. Worst. Book. Ever.
Yep. That pretty much sums it up.  At this point, things begin to resemble the more familiar stages of grief model.  There is bargaining.  I'll just do this once and never again presume to be An Author.  I'll do it on the sly.  I'll do it in the dark.  I'll do it and not tell anyone.  There is grief.  No one will read this.  I have wasted my life.  My book will be nothing more than a painful memory and the bitter taste of mockery and failure.

And maybe, just maybe, there is acceptance.  I will do it anyway.  I will put myself out there.  I've already done the hard part, right?  Written the thing?  So what if everyone hates it?  Or worse, so what if no one reads it?

I'm not totally at that part yet.  I bounce around between the other stages pretty solidly, though.  What I do have are...

Treatment options and Coping mechanisms:
1.  Loud music.  Oh, thank you, thank you, benevolent muses, for the gift of music.  And to the 21st Century for the technology to make it loud and as varied as I want to get it.
2.  Take out.  Although this is getting old.  Perhaps the saddest thing I've heard throughout this whole project was when my son asked for dinner that didn't come out of a bag.
3.  My own work space.  A place set away from the main house with a door I can shut and lock.  Where I can play music as loudly as I want, that's fully stocked with art supplies, books, a lightening-fast computer, and Internet.
4.  The freedom to have the occasional meltdown, and chalk it up to: Keire Syndrome.  And the blessing of being loved and supported despite it all.  

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