Last week the five editors of This is Terrible: the Writer's Lament met around the back table of The Word Shop. The mood was cautiously victorious. Our book was now in hand -- in boxes, in stacks -- and it looked . . . it looked GOOD. "It looks like a book." one of us said with some reverence.
We all giggled. I had said the same thing to the printer, who had responded with an odd look. When I had given Shannon her contributor's copy, she'd said, "This is an odd thing to say but, well . . . it looks like a book."
I was reminded of the birth of my first child. I had looked at the blueish head between my legs and thought, "Heavens! Its a baby!"
I wasn't exactly expecting puppies, had even bought a crib and all, but the idea of a live squiggling baby coming out of me was more than my brain could fully comprehending. There he was. Incarnate. Our union, our love had become a whole new person. Astonishing. Today that union has grown to eleven of us. Life rippling out, abundantly.
It took a while, sitting around the back table, for the idea to penetrate the five editors' collective self-congratulatory mood, that we weren't exactly finished. Not quite. The book was there. Beautiful: words, stories, poems, artwork; lovely quotes and comments to encourage other budding writers. Yes, it looked better than we had dared to hope. All nineteen boxes, all 500 copies. (Gasp.) Slowly it dawned on us that we still had to sell the book. And into the room, nibbling on our toes and gripping our lower bellies was the same fear we'd been battling since inception. What if nobody likes it? What if it really is Terrible?
"I find that writing is a constant battle with exactly the same problems you've always had." -- Douglas Adams
It is an astonishing thing to bring a group project through to the end; to have a good idea, make a commitment with a few other people and ride the waves, persevering through the storms until the arrival at journey's end. Twenty-two people contributed writing and art to This is Terrible: The Writer's Lament, and the end result is richer in variety than we dared to hope. I'm going to list everyone's name here, because some of you know some of us, and the contributors have invested in extra copies to sell to their friends.
Rita Deo Barber, Steven Crocker, Alliee DeArmond, Shannon DeArmond, Marc DeArmond, David Empey, Ken P. Harmeyer, Sunnie Savage Holt, Ted Kagy, Ellen Maruska. Carol Murphy, Vi Olly, Jean Tschohl Quinn, Susan White Rose, Mary Ellen Rusch, Kathy Swanson, Krista Swedberg, David Sweet, Ward Valentine, Lynn Wagner, Rodney Warren, May Wolff.
We are selling the book for an incredibly cheap $12.99. (You can tell a real book, because the price is always something and 99 cents.) There are of course stacks at The Word Shop and you can even be the first person to test our on-line purchase option at companyofsaints.com/terrible. If you buy it from a friend, they will not only make a couple bucks, they will also receive the amazingly supportive gift of knowing that you are interested in their creative work.
Those of you who are local can come meet some of the contributors on Friday, December 14 at The Word Shop. We are having a tea and book signing from 1:30 to 4:00. Come, schmooze, buy an extra copy for the writers on your list, and don't forget to tell someone that their part in the book is Terribly Terrific.