Yesterday the author’s copies of North Country Girl arrived. I can report that it’s still pretty cool to hold a book in your hand with your name on the cover.
I struggled with getting the cover right at both Amazon and Ingram Spark this time. DIY can be a challenge. So, I think the emotion was more relief than elation this time. Still, pretty cool.
But also, bittersweet. The first thing I did was look to the dedication, and it choked me up. I was approaching the climax* of North Country Girl, when my younger (by just over a year) brother unexpectedly passed in October. I still grieve his loss, every day. But those days after his death were debilitating. I couldn’t think straight, let alone write. I had a hard time talking on the phone, and my brother touched A LOT of people’s lives. So, there were many calls… most were answered with “I’ll need to get back to you.” I haven’t come close to getting back to everyone. If you’re reading this, and you are one of those persons I hope you’ll accept my apology. I’m still not sure I’m ready to talk about it.
I also experienced writer’s block for the first time. Believe it or not, when your brain goes to mush, it affects your access to the creative magic.
I managed to break through the block several days later, and reached the end a couple of weeks later. It was miserable getting into the chair, but once there and the writing started it was a little cathartic. Of course, I was sure it was all crap… and I’m not sure it isn’t still. We are the worst judges of our own work after all.
It was our intention that Dennis would do the cover art for this book. We were supposed to have a call to go over the specifics on a Wednesday in October. He didn’t pick up. He was already gone. I regret not asking him to do the art for Everything is Broken…because I was embarrassed by how little I could pay, and didn’t want to offend him. I don’t look back in regret on much, but I beat myself up over this. Even as I type this tears well up.
Yes, so, bittersweet. I feel like I can remember every keystroke of those last couple of thousand words.
RIP Dennis. You are loved.
*If you’ve read North Country Girl, I had just started the scene where the super-group of misfits convened at Stefanie Charles’ trailer.