Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark | Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


When you realize you accidentally mailed your painstakingly-edited book to a potential reviewer, instead of a clean advanced review copy - an ARC. When you go over the hours and days and weeks you spent reading, re-reading, highlighting, underlining, marking the tiniest of errors, feeling relieved that you'd found them, feeling delight in marking them, knowing they'll be fixed in the end. When you remember the deadline, the email your publisher just yesterday sent: time is a-wasting. When you think of your book, mailed yesterday, god-knows-where by now, dust in the wind, might as well be.

When you frantically email the person you accidentally mailed the edited book to. This person is a respected author, an esteemed professor, and you have never met her. You are emailing her now, trying to conceal your frantic tears, trying to explain the situation. Look for the book, you type with trembling hands, and wait, gnawing the inside of your cheek. Luckily, she replies quickly and is kind. You are filled with relief. She will mail the edited version back to you as soon as it arrives. You spend the rest of the day reasoning with yourself: a few extra days won't matter, right? Maybe the designer can work fast. Publishers always pad the schedule, don't they? Things will be fine.

Later, though, you stave off tears. You miss your book.

When you drive home, teary-eyed, missing your book, and finally pull into your space, and the world just seems so blah. You hate yourself for mailing the wrong book. You unload your purse, your textbooks, your stack of papers to grade, everything BUT your marked-up book, which is now somewhere between here and Chicago, so vulnerable, so precious, so many hours of labor in those 298 pages. You slog inside, look for the cat, find her sleeping and pick her up, fur and bones and cat, warm cat, and you let your tears dissolve into her fur. You miss your book.

When you decide to have another look in your car, just in case but probably not - you don't let yourself hope, you don't let yourself wonder - and you go out again and look in the backseat and there's a tote bag with a tablecloth inside, left over from the Day of the Dead table your co-worker, Liz, made at work, and inside you feel something hard alongside the tablecloth, a frame most likely, the picture of your grandparents you brought to display on the table, but instead, when you draw it out, it is your book, your marked up book, there all along.

Dear readers, this is me. This is where I've gone: Booklandia.

I'll be back soon, I think.

Meanwhile, happy fall, my lovelies. Happy leaves and pumpkins and turkey and witches and winter on the wind, just beyond.

Love and snowflakes,


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