Monday, January 11, 2010

Receiving the bound galleys of one's own book is usually a thrilling experience. It's when the book really feels like a book for the first time. When I received the galleys for Fruitflesh, my first published book, I was so overcome at the sight of my name on the cover, I thought I might pass out or throw up. This time is different.

I recently received the galleys for both My Life with the Lincolns, my YA novel coming out in March, and Delta Girls, my novel coming out in June (you can see the cover here, now that I have a digital copy.) Of course it was exciting when they each showed up on my doorstep, but it was also bittersweet. For those who haven't seen the posting on my other blog, my mom committed suicide six weeks ago, one week after my son Asher was born. I had dedicated Delta Girls to her but hadn't told her; I had wanted to surprise her with it when the galleys came out. Now I deeply regret not telling her, and not sharing the manuscript, which she had wanted to read, with her earlier. I see the simple dedication--"For my mom"--and it takes on a whole other meaning now, and it breaks my heart. I never imagined she wouldn't be here to see it, herself, or that it would become a memorial of sorts.

We never know how much time we have with our loved ones; it makes me want to pull all of them even closer now.

4 comments:

catiporter said...

Gayle, I'm sure she would have been thrilled by the dedication.

Thinking of you --

xoxo

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Gayle, You did a beautiful thing dedicating it to her, and there was no way you could know she wouldn't see it.
The book cover is beautiful and makes me think of the lush richness of your writing and the loving depth of your heart. Be strong.

Lois Leveen said...

Hi Gayle,
I'm that friend/erstwhile workshop student of Ariel Gore's who is working on a novel about the former slave who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House. I was just wondering when My Life With the Lincolns would be out and so came to your blog . . . only to see this entry and thus learn all you're going through. Writing is always such an emotional roller coaster. And pregnancy/new parenthood is such an emotional roller coaster. And losing a family member is such an emotional roller coaster. You must be like your own personal Six Flags Over Emotional Oscillations with all three converging.
Here's one thing that's true: we write because writing (and for others, reading) allows us to connect emotionally. So bittersweet indeed that the arrival of the galleys seems to underscore both the lost opportunities to connect with someone who meant so much to you, and the promise of how your words will connect and resonate for readers you've never even met. Here in gray-skied Portland, January is always spent reminding myself that even though the days seem dark, they are getting lighter and longer one by one. I hope the same feels true for you.
Take care,
Lois

Donna said...

Can't wait to read your new books. Since your mother's presence has appeared at home in your dream, perhaps she has picked up your book as well.