Sometime this holiday season, barring any unforeseen circumstances like an alien invasion or an announcement that Ryan Seacrest is purchasing Wyoming, my book Paradise Not Quite Lost will be released in both print and digital formats. At the point of publication I will sit in my underwear, watching reality programs, while the Nebulas, Pulitzers, and Nobels arrive at my door via FedEx. What? I’ve heard Stephen King and J.K. Rowling do this all the time. I’m going to be a published author, so sitting in my skivvies is mandatory.
Some of you are probably picturing the image, trying to wash it out of your mind with a high-pressured spray of soap up your nose, and asking “Rich, why aren’t you more excited about the release of your book?” and “You still wear Underoos?” To the second question … yes, because they come in adult sizes. To the first question … I’m not excited because it doesn’t feel real yet.
Sure, I’ve received a copy of the cover, sent preview reads out to a number of people, and polished my gold-burnished display case for all the accolades I’m about to receive, but I don’t think I’ll be able to shout in glee until the physical book is in my hands and is stained by my tears of joy. It comes down to my concepts of expectation versus reality. Something beautifully illustrated in the modern movie classic (500) Days of Summer.
There’s a scene in that film where the screen splits to show Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s expectation and reality of going to a party hosted by his kind-of former girlfriend, portrayed by the adorkable Zooey Deschanel. On one side of the screen we see Levitt and Deschanel’s characters hooking up and rekindling their romance. On the reality side of the screen we see Levitt’s character drinking alone and watching in shock as … well, rent the movie to find out.
I’ve done the over-expectation thing all my life and have been bitterly disappointed when it didn’t match the reality I faced. Yes, Paradise Not Quite Lost is going to be a success. Yes, there will be a sequel to the book. Yes, George Clooney or Justin Timberlake will play the main character. It’s just that I need to be in the presence of the situation before feel it.
In the end, after I do all the polishing I can and all my Underoos are lined up in my drawer right next to my extra-large Granimals with matching berets, I will glance out my window to see if the FedEx guy is coming up my path to leave a package on the doorstep more valuable than any award I’ll eventually obtain. And only when I rip open that box or envelope to pull out the shiny-covered copy of Paradise Not Quite Lost will I begin to feel the excitement.
Congratulations, Rich. I can tell you, holding that new physical book in your hands will bring tears to your eyes.
Richard S. Keller is a resident of Northern Colorado, a member of Northern Colorado Writers, and a contributor to The Writing Bug blog.