They tell me to dream big,
To reach for the stars
Believe in yourself –
They say you’ll go far.
Well, my big dreams are the biggest
The closest star is also the farthest
I do not believe, but for a moment I did,
I was foolish to think I could do this…
If it hasn’t happened yet
Clearly it never will.
It is nothing
If it is not monumental.
I have failed
If I did not succeed overnight.
If nothing is said
There is nothing to like.
And it honestly always is
This black and white.
They tell me to dream big,
To reach for the stars
I will take that one step
So here’s the deal: I wrote a book (I believe I have mentioned this a few times) and I found a publisher (even more noteworthy I think). I was beyond excited. I have always wanted to ‘be a writer’ and finding a publisher felt like validation – I progressed from merely writing to actually being a writer. I joked with my wife that we would have to celebrate every single step along the publishing process. Joking aside, when my book was assigned an ISBN number – we cracked open the bubbly. The first proofs were sent through – it would be rude not to celebrate. My book appeared on Amazon, available for pre-order, my book was sent to the printers, my copies arrived in the post – all causes for celebration, and so I was true to my word after all; many a true word is spoken in jest!
For each milestone along this new road, I climbed a little higher up the ladder of happy, giddy, gleeful, exhilaration. Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments of doubt and worry but on the whole I was floating in an unsustainable bubble of euphoria. You see where this is going yet?
I had no idea what to expect, either from the publishing process itself, or from the ‘aftermath’ of having been published. I have never done this before, and I didn’t have a clue. But I do have Borderline, and when I hope for something, I do so with every fiber of my being. I don’t do much in half measures.
What goes up, soaring to giddy heights with great speed and gusto, must at some point come crashing back down with heartless and indecent force. As I said, I didn’t know what to expect, and I don’t know what I did expect, but I expected a little more than what I got!
The day after the publication date I was still riding strong on my proud-cloud. Still disbelieving but euphoric that I could have achieved what I had. I went into town with Dawn, buzzing with anticipation and exuberance, eager to see my book – finally – in a book shop. After all, isn’t that where books go? Isn’t that what book shops are for? Not necessarily! My book was nowhere to be seen. Dawn asked at the desk where we might find the book, assuming we were looking in the wrong place, but not only was the book was not in stock, it was not on order either. After repeating this conversation in the second bookshop, I found a quiet corner and broke down. I sobbed uncontrollably, feeling utterly devastated, humiliated and betrayed: It felt personal. SO fucking personal. And I felt like the worlds biggest idiot. Such a damn bloody fool.
What did I think was going to happen? I have no idea, but I expected something. I certainly was not prepared for nothing.
I felt stupid beyond words. I felt like my face was pushed back in the dirt where I belonged – how did I ever think I had the right to shine? For days I was inconsolable. One minute I had been riding high, the next I was falling so fast and such a long way down I was more scared of the ferocity of my emotions than I had been for a long while. I felt as though I had let Dawn down: I had contributed nothing to our home, and now my book has done nothing but suck my life and soul into its empty voracious belly, and I felt utterly unworthy of her love as a result.
People have asked me, in jest, what it is like to be a published author. For the record, so far, it is pretty much the same as not being one, only much more disappointing.
I am not writing this to illicit pity – far from it. I am writing this to encourage people, myself included, that there is always hope. With regards to my book I am completely in the dark. All of the fears, suspicions and paranoias that I feared would assail me this side of The Big Day have indeed done so, and they have done it with aplomb. Bar the odd feedback (for which I am incredibly grateful – don’t get me wrong!) I have heard nothing so far. I have no idea what people think about my book, and just as importantly (I think) about me. If I thought the waiting game had been bad before the publication date, it was nothing compared to this side.
And yet, I have navigated my way through these treacherous waters and no matter how foolish I may feel about my book, I can hold my head high and say that I managed my BPD these last few weeks, and I managed it reasonably well! I talk about management, rather than recovery throughout my book and this is a case in point: I still have all the irrational, illogical thoughts along with all the wild, intense, extreme and often terrifying feelings and urges, but I have learned to manage them. I have not come through this episode entirely unscathed, but I have come through it, and I am stronger for it.
When I could finally put into words what I was actually feeling, the relief was palpable. For me, if I haven’t sold a thousand copies, I may as well not have sold a single one. If I haven’t had any feedback it is because there is nothing nice to say – or nobody read my book (because I haven’t sold a single copy!) It took me several days of wading through the sludge of these feelings before I was able to articulate them to myself as well as to others, but I found my words and I found my voice. And it took some time, but eventually I found my feet again.
PS: In the continuing absence of any substantial feedback regarding my book I am trying with all my might to Zen my way through – if nothing ever comes of the book, pre-publication surely was one hell of a ride!