distant little selves
Wanted to go to Montreal (to see my six year-old niece Stella) this weekend but decided to get sick instead. I'm full of mental miscues like this. Thought, too, that I could sidestep the issue by topping off a hot meal with indecent amounts of zinc and ginseng and then pretty much just passing out ... that I could wake up the next morning, do the old Pontius Pilate bit of washing my hands to an invisible crowd and saying, Well, that's it for me then. Let's hit the road! ... and the cold *had* moved on, in fact, rather smartly -- only it chose the shorter distance from the throat to the chest, where there was more room for maneuver and it was able to set up shop properly, and settle in for its gruesome siege.
* * * * *In a bookstore the day before, while I was still circulating lies amongst my various selves and at least one of me thought I might yet be Montreal-bound, looking for books for Stella (that grimaced calculation of what-seems-good x what-she-might-actually-read, and then divided by hope), and of course I wandered over to say hello to my own book (I always do this, take a look and then casually accelerate away, before anyone sees me), and of course it was strange: this joy of seeing one's own work on the shelf versus the pang of seeing it in multiple copies, and wondering if anyone is buying those copies, worrying that they're not, afraid that it will all get sent back to the publisher some day, and not wanting to be that guy who makes the store owner wince every time he sees him. Not *that* guy: the guy of foolish, crashing ambition. People are always asking me about the money involved and I'm always left saying the same thing, that it's not about the money. Do not care. Honestly. What I do care about is when readers tell me how much they've enjoyed my stories, and especially when they do so in writing, because that's not just running into someone on the street, some erupted response (and what would they tell you anyway? that it made them sick?) ... instead it's someone making an actual effort, and reaching into a certain cloud.