I have written a new novel. Harper has made a cover for it. Here is the cover:
It feels weird to see my name on it--like coming across your name splashed across a cereal box. "Why is my name on the corn puffs?!" I want to say. "I don't even EAT corn puffs." But there it is. Name on cover that distant publisher has made. Name on cover of book that I keep forgetting is actually coming out.
There is an apartment building a few blocks away from my house that has been under construction ever since I moved to my neighborhood. I have never known it except as big crazy structure with chain link fences around it and dark windows with dark rooms behind them. It didn't occur to me until just this morning that in a couple of months, the windows will have lights on, and people will be moving into it, and you will be able to walk on the sidewalk because the fences will be gone. It scares me that people are already walking in and out of this book--making it a cover and tagline and an Amazon description, printing up ARCS, turning on the lights and running the water. Part of me wants it to be an empty apartment building forever, mine to haunt, mine to control. Mine to demolish, if I felt like it. Mine to hole up in like a gremlin and never come out.
Lately I've been feeling more and more unnerved by industrialization--the speed of it, and the distance. I would like to write one book every two hundred years, seek revision advice from a circle of wise Book Elders I'd known since childhood, print it on paper made of dried ferns, and leave it in a hollow tree for everybody or nobody to read. Any comments or discussion with readers could take the form of leisurely handwritten correspondence. In short, I don't want to power the machine--but I do. And I will.
This new book I've written is partly about that machine, the damage it causes, and the growth and renewal that sneaks through the cracks. You won't find that on the back cover, but it's true (at least in my mind--but I'm always giving people incoherent and overly fretful explanations of my books, when it would be easier to say "boy and girl ride bicycles, start band").
My laptop is out of battery, so I am ending this post. To the friends who commented last time: it warms my heart to hear from each of you. When I make my dried-fern manuscript, you will be the first to know.