Secrets, Lies & Chat

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Postman Knocked - I Wasn't Home

Today is Monday 17 January 2005. I have been waiting for this day for so long and now that it has finally arrived, it is like a minor incident, not the day of euphoria I expected. My feelings are interesting to me; I guess over time I have lost the excitement that I thought today would bring me. It's like a love affair that went on too long with nothing much of a positive note happening, and then, when the big moment arrives, it is all a bit too late. I remember when I received the email in July 2003 that announced my book had been selected as one to be published and I was offered a contract. My feet didn't touch ground for hours; I sailed around in a kind of fog that was enveloping and entrancing and exciting.

I arrived home this afternoon from work to find shoved under the wire frame of my security door, a note from the post office that a parcel had arrived. As I wasn't home it was returned to the post office, and I was requested to pick it up personally after 4.00 pm. I knew what it would be and I even tossed it around in my head not to bother going out again to pick it up today. However, the need to see it got the better of me, and I drove to the post office, not sure if I would make it on time. I arrived to find a line half way out the door of people waiting to do their business at the front desk, or collect a parcel, like me. I stood in line for close to 1/2 hour, not in the least bit excited.

I decided, while I was in that line, to take the parcel home unopened, ring up my daughter and invite my little family over for a home-delivered dinner so they could share with me the moment when I opened the parcel. Perhaps I was a bit afraid of it; afraid of being disappointed in how it looked, or felt. I handed in the card to the woman behind the desk and she brought out the parcel, asked me for ID, and I signed the register book. I felt what was inside and knew it was 'the book'; the book I had been waiting for and had lost a lot of interest in over those months of waiting.

On arriving home I placed the parcel on the table, rang my daughter, then rang for home delivery. A short while later my daughter arrived with my granddaughter and a young friend of hers. Perhaps my granddaughter's friend took something away from the moment as well. She didn't like anything that was for dinner, and I thought how rude some people are, and how lacking their parents are that they allow them to act like that in other people's homes.

I poured my daughter and myself a Baileys and brought out the parcel. I handed it to my granddaughter and said that as she was so special to me, she could have the honour of opening up the parcel. I made the moment a bit exciting for her by explaining that no one in the world but the publisher had seen the book before us. She saw it first and her eyes lit up. My daughter helped tear the wrapping off and also saw the book before I did. She said "Mum I love the colour". I smiled and enjoyed their pleasure, even if I felt a bit ho hum about the whole thing.

I finally saw the book, well two of them actually. I imagine after being told the book was being sent early December, and chasing it up early January only to find out it probably was never sent, the publisher decided to send me two copies instead of the miserly one free copy the author is given. It looked nice, it felt nice in my hand, and I opened it to read the dedication. My daughter hugged me and kissed me and congratulated me, as did my granddaughter. And yet I still felt nothing much at all about any of it. Where did all my enthusiasm and euphoria go? The one thing that carried me through the almost three years since commencing writing, was the thought of having my book, with my name on it, in my hands. The moment was here. I felt little. How sad for me that the frustrations and the seemingly never-ending dramas, had left me empty inside. I know that if the book had been released as it should have been in June/July 2004, those feelings would have been strong. I would have been floating on air again, delighted, as I had been when I learned a publisher wanted my book.

But here it is and now begins the task of more promotional work to drum up some interest. I have to work on my feelings and over the next days try to recapture some of the really good positive ones, because in spite of all that has gone on leading up to today, my dream has been realised. I always said that if nothing ever came of it of any magnitude, just having a book with my name on it, knowing I had achieved something that in my wildest dreams I never envisaged would happen, would be more than enough for me.

I have to skim through it now and make sure all is as it should be and then contact the section at American-Book Publishing that handles the orders. Once I approve it then I will be organising for 700 of the books to be air freighted to Australia. More headaches, more expenditure. I completed a rough promotional and business plan a few days ago and found out that my rough estimate of expenditure thus far, including air freight of the 700 books and the GST I have to pay on them on arrival in Australia, totals over $30,000 AUD. I intend to sell 500 books myself, or try to, and will recoup approximately 1/3 of that expenditure. However, you can't place a price on a dream, and if my book saves even one person from coming unstuck on the Internet, then it's been money well spent.

As Arnie said "I will be back" - hopefully my next Blog will be on a much more positive note. Thank you to my friends who have seen me come this far. I think I will need you for a while yet to pull me over the hurdles yet to come. Until next time ............


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