Mid-day, catching a quick bit of lunch in the midst of all my move-in chores, I sit down at my desk upstairs and flip over to facebook, and one of the posts I see is this picture.
-along with the caption, "To hold a book with your name in it..."
What a lovely thing. The picture is of a page of the early galley for City of Weird, the anthology I'm editing for Forest Avenue Press. Sadly, we weren't able to give galleys out to all the contributors - they're for booksellers and blurbers and the media - but along with being a writer, Leigh Anne Kranz is a radio personality (sssso not the reason I chose this gorgeous story, which, like all of the stories, I chose blind), so she got a sneak preview. How wonderful to witness, even in cyber form, a writer's pleasure at holding a publication for the first time.
I stare at the picture for a moment: the story title, Leigh Anne's name, the tiny bits of phrase. Empty of the pink-fleshed fish. The sonar of hunger.
I remember when I held my own first contribution to an anthology for the first time. 2009, Portland Noir. I was at Powell's, mid-day on a Friday, running up to the fourth floor to grab re-sorts to take down to my displays, and out of the blue, sitting stacked in three face-outs on a cart in the Publicity book corral, was a whole mess of Portland Noir. I just stood there looking at it. It took me a long time to pick it up. I don't know why.
From my journal:
It was a full cart and I stood there sort of moving the other books around, putting Orange Room books with Orange Room books and Green Room books with Green and… well, hovering around. The appearance of Portland Noir in the store changed everything. I had slipped from the anticipation Portland-Noir-Is-Being-Published phase, the I’m-going-to-be-published phase, to the Portland-Noir-Is-Out. The I’m-published. The thing against whose absence I’ve judged my existence ever since… I don’t know when. As early as Sophomore year in high school?
I’m distracted by the fact that I’m not sure if that sentence I just wrote about measuring something against an absence of something is correct. Oh well, what the hell. What do I care? I’m published now. They can’t take that away from me.
Ha, my silly words. But a moment like that is worth some silly words.
I click like on Leigh Anne's post and scroll down, reading people's comments of congratulations. Somewhere along the thread of comments, Leigh Anne says that it made her cry, which makes me cry, and I think, my goodness. Holding my first publication for the first time was a wonderful feeling, the best, but sitting here, looking at Leigh Anne's picture of hers, which I had a hand in, feels even better.
City of Weird doesn't come out until October next year, but here's a little sneak peek at Leigh Anne's story: