This is the day my new book comes out. Always a slightly (or profoundly) nervewracking experience. I got up at 6 am to start doing radio interviews. I talked to Whoopi Goldberg. That was fun. I tend to get involved in the conversation and forget to mention the title of the book and website info at the beginning and end, which is what you are supposed to do. I’m not much of a salesperson, I’m afraid.
It’s tricky to do live phone interviews from home-at least from my particular home. I try to be smooth and professional and put on a radio voice while my kids are banging on the door because they can’t find their shoes and another phone is ringing and a siren is blaring out the window and the fire alarm is beeping because I forgot to replace the battery.
I always worry on such a day. I worry that no one will buy the book. I worry that many people will buy the book, but no one will like it. I worry that my mind will wander on live TV: I will stare blankly at the camera while my hair is sticking up in some funny way. I worry that no one will come to my bookstore signings. I worry that lots of people will come and that I will be boring and disappointing. “You do this every time,” my husband points out.
But this day also brings a certain joy. I am launching these made-up people into the world and giving them a kind of life. I am turning a private, meditative writing experience into a reading experience I hope to share. I am trying to connect my inner life and my stories to the inner lives of others. As E.M. Forster famously wrote in Howards End, “Only connect.”
It’s always nervewracking to put yourself out there. But it’s the root of joy.