Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In the Pudding

Three days ago, I received a proof copy of my novel from the publisher. Finally, after a harrowing ten-year journey, A Listening Thing will see print later this month. In fact, I know the planned date, but I won’t divulge it just yet. First things first: I have to live that long. To me, that, not waiting, is the real challenge. If I survive, there’s a lot of living and writing and dreaming to do between now and then. Waiting is almost a form of arrogance. It assumes my cares and concerns are more important than yours, which is simply not the case. It can also blind me to daily miracles readily at hand: family, butterflies, freshly picked produce, the light in the eyes of everyone I meet — love; memory; even death. I refuse to die waiting. I would rather die living. And when I do die, whenever it is, I want to live dying.

That said, I’m very excited about this book. In reviewing the proof, I’m pleased to say that so many things about it have been done right that I know it will be a delight to hold in one’s hands and heart and mind. There is nothing glitzy or glamorous about it; it’s an elegant yet sensible volume, presented with a warmth and style perfectly in keeping with the story and the ideas it conveys. It will hold your attention while remaining a generous, accessible friend.

Now, please keep in mind that I’m the world’s worst salesperson. A Listening Thing has no real budget. I won’t be giving readings or going out on tour. Instead, I’ll be sitting here doing what I always do, with the added charge of making this release a special, memorable occasion, much as if it were a child’s birthday party, and the childhood it celebrates is one we hope might last forever. So consider this your invitation.

A funny story: The first proof was mistakenly sent by the printer to Vermont. The second proof was correctly addressed, but the shipping conglomerate again sent it to Vermont. I was about to move to Vermont when the third proof finally landed in my mailbox.

And of course there are other possibilities. For instance, the world might declare bankruptcy on our publication date, ushering in an even Greater Depression. I’m smiling at the thought already. Because I know A Listening Thing is tougher and more resilient than any Depression, even my own. Let come what may. In the meantime, even this must be an effective piece of writing. If it isn’t, then I’ve broken our trust and must work to make amends.


Tess Kincaid said...

Kudos. And don't forget the butterflies.

erin said...

:) warmly


Gisizee said...

William, ordinarily I would say that the wait for your book is killing me...but now that you've given me an alternative, I will say instead that it is making me live.

I am so happy for you that the proof looks good and that you did not have to relocate to confirm this, although your book has good taste taking a holiday in Vermont.

Now, where's that pudding?

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Tess. I won’t. And for some odd reason, I just pictured one landing on my nose.

Received and returned, Erin.

Gabriella, the latest report is in: the pudding is also in Vermont. I’ve always wanted to visit there; now my mind is made up. The twists and turns this book has taken are amazing. I won’t be surprised if there are more.

Anonymous said...

This was the point that I felt the most relief. out of my hands and now beyond my control after the editing phase I was able to live again.

Whitney-Anne Baker said...

Hurrah. ( I won't add an exclamation point as they are, now, scarce.) I look forward to celebrating that child's birthday with you. I will eat cake and sing and dance on behalf of such an undertaking.

Anonymous said...

a beautiful piece of writing with perspective, reflection, and a tribute to life ... a perfect introduction to your new book....

William Michaelian said...

Jhon, I’ve probably aged a hundred years since the book was written back in 2001, almost published, and peddled by unknown purveyors in generic review copies. Then again, I doubt I was in control even during its composition. But still, I know just what you mean.

Whitney-Anne! Knowing that has me smiling from ear to ear....

I appreciate that, Rahina. Because for what it contains, the book might just as well be titled A Living Thing. And it’s your kind of insight that will make it so.

Anonymous said...

looking forward to it,
but not too forward,

gotta be here now you know...!

; )

(I'm sure it will be splendid William!)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...


Hear ye, hear ye--keep
your eyes and ears
open for this
joyous listening


Pouting Bear said...


PoutingBear (Formerly The Scrybe)


William Michaelian said...

Brad, hold that thought — and then let it go. Right with you, my friend.

One if by land, two if by sea;
such is the cry of Vassilis.

(Thanks is what I’d say.)

The bear that pouts also has its cheerful side, I see. But in my mind you’ll never be a former Scrybe. Thanks for being present.

Anthony Duce said...

Congratulations. Your commentary here is wonderful, like being across from you, proof enough for me. Looking forward to the novel.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Anthony. That’s great to hear, and it’s also great to hear from you while you’re off on your travels. I look at it this way: we really are in the same room; granted, it’s a big one, but I think we’ve both proven there’s no need to shout. Thanks again.

Bitch said...

A Listening Thing.
Looking forward, dear William!

William Michaelian said...

And thank you for listening, Monika. Wishing you my very best, as always.

*** said...

Oh, this is 'substantiated exuberance'!!!! Sorry, dear... my FB comment was merely in response to the lead-in line. I had not clicked the link. Congratulations!!!!! From the heart~~~

William Michaelian said...

¡Thank you, Donna!

¡Your story is well tilde!

¡I’m so glad you found your way here!

¡Nine whole exclamation points!

Aleks said...

Finally!!! It is really happening,how wonderful William! Warmest wishes and congratulations ,enjoy and good luck with selling it!

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, dear Aleksandra. Yes, finally, and it still feels like a dream. And like a dream, may the book have wings.