It’s been a long winter, and somehow it’s now April, with just under a month to go until The Leavers is out on May 2.
Over the past few months, I’ve been steadily crossing things off my pre-publication to-do list. Essays written, pitched, and sold. Book tour and other events planned – check out the video I made below announcing some of the dates and cities! Newsletters, thank you cards, e-mails, and invitations sent and in the works. Q&As and interviews completed and scheduled. Bookmarks, postcards, and other promotional materials created. Website and social media updated. I’ve even bought a new dress and a pair of shoes.
Of course, these next few weeks are going to coincide with a big freelance editing project, and I’m moving apartments the day before the book launch (note to self: next time, don’t do this), so I’m surrounded by piles of boxes as I alternate between excitement and sheer terror on what feels like an hourly basis. You spend seven years working on a book and think that’s it, the bulk of the work, but then comes publication and the aftermath. A whole other unknown.
So, I’m taking deep breaths and looking forward. See you on my book tour?
My first day and last day at my casita in Taos
Three months, two seasons, 90,000 words of a new novel drafted, one short story and three essays written, countless sunset walks and hikes and bike rides taken, many nachos and green chiles and potlucks eaten, several shooting stars wished upon, one supermoon rising over a mountain, ten new artist friends, six weeks of post-election fallout. Late nights and early mornings, the mountains, magpies, coyotes at night, a couple of skunks.
Going home to New York City on Monday. What comes next? A lot.
I slept for three hours, then woke up and rode my bike to the top of a hill, sat there surrounded by mountains and sage, and sobbed. I miss my partner and my home. I am terrified of this whitelash. Terrified for those who have and could be targets of profiling and violence, whose safety continues to be at stake.
Change doesn’t occur just through electoral politics or only every four years with the presidential election. For those who weren’t angry before today: why not? If you thought America has always been great, what gave you the ability to believe in that illusion, to not see what you didn’t want to see, and how will you use these privileges to become more vigilant against injustice? I know I am going to keep using mine, and I’m going to step it up.
America was founded and sustained on slavery, genocide, and global empire. It has never been for us. It’s tried to get rid of us, exclude us, and oppress us, but we’re still here. Our survival and existence continues in spite of it. And that is fucking beautiful.
“A Litany of Survival,” by Audre Lorde
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive