Twelve Weeks Pregnant, About to Give Birth


I haven't really slept for the past week and when I do I have the same recurring dream: I'm reading my book without my glasses, squinting and straining and trying to make out the words, to an audience of no one. And I'm trying to smile and speak as I would if I had an actual audience. When I've finished reading my passage I close my book and ask the empty chairs if anyone has any questions.

As it turns out, I am more insecure than previously realized. Which is annoying. I want my confidence back, please.

I've been sick all week and not because I'm pregnant. I've been paralyzed with a kind of fear that's unfamiliar. The kind of fear that makes me want to turn away from everything and sleep. I can't put my finger what most scares me about tomorrow, about the book coming out and in the hands of strangers. I have this blog, which exposes all kinds of in-grown hairs to many people I don't know... never will. But there is something safe about publishing online. Perhaps because when I catch a typo I can easily correct it. If a post is poorly-wrought, I can delete it. Erase it from the record. No one will ever know I thought such things. Wrote so poorly... Make bad jokes.


When the books arrived on my doorstep on Friday, I was supposed to be excited. When I sat down to read the book for the first time since I sent in my completed manuscript last summer, I was supposed to be happy. Instead, I had a panic attack. Asthmatic and gasping for breath, I put the book down and spent the next hour staring at the ceiling, hoping it might fall on my face. Then I passed out.

The Internet has spoiled me with its code-of-armor. It's "disable comments," and "delete" and "create a new post" buttons... Every day I can post about something new. I can mature as a writer, be a better mother, a more interesting person. I can grow up. Change my settings. Contradict my own waterfall of consciousness. (Because lordy knows, there's no stream here.) That isn't the way with a published manuscript. There are no such things as red pens and new drafts. There is no way to disable comments. The end.

Frankly, it's insane to be doubting myself now. And stupid. I should be excited. True, I'm not publishing the Great American Novel. But there's plenty of time for that, yes? Life is long. This is a good start. A hopeful beginning with many more books to come after a decade of pushing and straining and creative breathing techniques. Keep pushing. There you go. Push harder! That's it! One more big push and...

...It's a...

BOOK!..

...All bloody and covered in guts and shit except it's not really mine. It belongs to everyone now. Out of my body and my hands and my control. Goodbye book. Take good care. I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there. Just remember there's a lot of bad and beware...

Maybe then I just pinpointed what is most scary. Why I feel so sick. So vulnerable and weird and self-conscious. Because contrary to my recurring dream, there are people listening in the audience. People who paid the price of the book to listen. You and you and you. And you in the back with the purple scarf. You're all here in the audience even if I can't see your faces.


You're here and I so badly want you to be glad you came.

GGC

46 comments:

Anonymous | 10:32 AM

Good luck with the book! I wish you nothing but success. Loving the baby bump pics too. =)

OT... how is Scarlett? I followed her blog for a while and now it is gone. Her last post was in December I believe. Just worried about her and hoping for the best!

natalie janette | 10:38 AM

cannot wait to read the book because even with this post i'm seeing more of the reason why i love your writing. you are so real and honest and open and people will love the book as much as they (I!) love the blog. deep breath in, deep breath out...

Karen | 10:46 AM

ditto what nj said about this post just being a reflection of why i love your honest and open writing style so much. can't wait to read the book, and i have no doubt that you and it will be welcomed with open arms in all the cities you're going to visit. (although i know that's easy for *me* to say!) :D

Don Mills Diva | 11:00 AM

You're gonna be great Rebecca and so is your book - I just know it!

Erica | 11:03 AM

I'm already glad I came and I don't even have the book in my hands yet. I'm glad for your leaps of faith over and over again that allow you to share with total strangers your life and fears and humor and kick-ass-ness.

The fear must be hard to ignore, but remember that you are supported in a way that you will probably never be able to grasp.

All the best, and I can't wait to read it.

maringuy | 11:06 AM

You're going to kill it - I have zero doubts about that. Enjoy the ride and see you in SF in a few weeks. Congratulations on achieving something that very few people can ever claim. Way to go Bec.

foodiemama | 11:32 AM

i am so excited for you!!!!

grandpaeast | 11:37 AM

If you weren't nervous about all this, you'd be dead or dead drunk. What you're feeling are probably the exact emotions that stuck Fitzgerald and Cheever and so many more into the bottle.
You can and will handle this !!

Anonymous | 11:41 AM

This is very exciting! I will come to the Hollywood reading - so no empty chairs there! Can't wait.

Emery Jo | 12:25 PM

Oh Lordy I am SO excited about this. Everyone is going to be VERY happy they came. Even if you had just published this blog word-for-word in its entirety, I would have payed good money to have it in my hands. The internet is nice and all, but it's not something you can give to a friend or a new mom or a sister... wrapped up with a ribbon and a personal note inside. I know that this book will be a great comfort to young moms out there who are going through similar transitions, and I plan to gift this book to anyone I know who might benefit from your words. (aka EVERYONE I'VE EVER MET.) Even though I haven't read it yet, I LOVE IT.

Congratulations.

Jaelithe | 12:35 PM

Holy shit Rebecca if you wrote the book the way you wrote this post you have nothing to worry about.

Chicky Chicky Baby | 12:39 PM

I just got the book and I was so damn excited for you I couldn't stop talking about it. Truly. I think my husband told me to shut my yap already.

It's great so far, hon. Take some Tums, sit back and enjoy the ride.

A | 12:50 PM

I discovered your blog not very long ago and I am now excited for your book! I love your writing and wish you loads of success.

kittenpie | 1:00 PM

I bet we will be. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Soon!

But I must say, it's also comforting that a lovely writer and a hip, hot mama like yourself has the same kind of paralysing fear that would prevent me from even sending out a manuscript. Good for you for pushing past it. You should be one proud lady.

Trenches of Mommyhood | 1:02 PM

Can't wait to get my grubby hands on it!
You will be (and already are) a success. Of this I'm sure.

THopgood | 1:14 PM

If this book as only 1/2 as enjoyable as your blog it will be a HUGE success. Congratulations! I can't wait to get my hand on a copy!

ImpostorMom | 1:24 PM

It's going to be great and I'm personally planning on picking my copy up during my lunch hour tomorrow.

Andrea | 1:29 PM

Bec, the book is good. I've read parts of it. I know. Trust me.

The book is good.

And the validation will come. I know that mostly writers think the publishing contract is the validation, but no, it's the public opinion.

As your reading public, I can say this: the book is GOOD!

fionaboger | 1:39 PM

I've never written a comment before, but I thought this post deserved a response. I stumbled across your blog while I was actually checking out an old friend from highschool's blog. Your blog is now bookmarked and I check it at least once a day (I'm in college and have too much time on my hands..) Your writing style is wonderfully witty and I love having a peek inside such an interesting life. I have already pre-ordered your book and I am sure I will enjoy it just as much as I do this blog.

Shash | 1:39 PM

Rebecca, I'm on vacation and I'm going straight to the bookstore tomorrow and buying your book for the car ride home! I have been waiting for this day and am SO EXCITED for you! I met you briefly at BlogHer 07 and was so glad I did! Congratulations on all the great things happening for you and your family!

Shash

Rebecca | 1:51 PM

Rebecca,

I think it takes a lot of courage to write and publish a book. Some of us just dream about it but you have done it!

I enjoy reading your blog (recently discovered) and I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy of your book soon - even though I live all the way over here in New Zealand.

Just take a deep breath and remember how brave you already are.
Rebecca

LN | 2:22 PM

We're here and we're listening and we're going to buy (and love) the book for the same reasons we read your blogs. You're a talented, bright and witty writer. And your real and genuine perspective on motherhood makes the rest of us feel less alone. Not to mention the fact that you're effing hilarious.
Congrats, Mama! Live the dream.

Jennifer | 3:46 PM

How exciting - Congratulations!
Now, relax. You. Will. Be. Great.

GirlPirate | 4:51 PM

I honestly cannot wait for you to come out to Vancouver. Im booking the day off and I will be there, so you are guaranteed at least an audience of one :D
I love reading this blog and I can't wait to get my hands on your book.

Baby in Broad | 5:29 PM

I'd hug you right this minute if I could.

bmcbmcbmcbmc | 7:10 PM

shhhh.
it's perfect.
enjoy every second.

Kat | 7:15 PM

I'm picking up my copy tomorrow, and I am so excited for you I can't even explain it! You have entertained me for two years now with you blog, and I can't imagine now falling in love with your book.

LD | 7:19 PM

who-hoo, can't wait to pick up a copy!

Pickle'sMom | 8:29 PM

Becca, it's going to be ok. More than ok. Fabulous. My copy is on it's way from Amazon and I can't wait to crack that baby open. You are an amazing writer. Take a deep breath, get a glass of wine...um, sparkling cider...and put your feet up. Enjoy this time. You wrote a book! Woohoo!

-the girl from Ohio, Idaho, whatever. :)

Chag | 8:31 PM

Be proud!

Are you hitting the bookstores tomorrow to see your book on the shelves? I know I would.

Rachel | 9:52 PM

Rebecca, the book is beautiful, inside and out, just like you. I truly mean that and was so thrilled to get a finished copy the other day. I loved the book, but I also wanted it to keep going, and the magic is, it does with your blog. You're gonna rock your book tour and, I think, speak to a lot of young mothers/possible young mothers. Congratulations!

Zeynep | 3:09 AM

I am so glad I am here. We all are! And I'll be even better when I get to share your first masterpiece (they don't have it here in Istanbul - I asked a friend to pick it up for me from the US). You reach so many people from all over the world, and the reason we all come back over and over again is your wonderful writing (and marvelous character - see, no pressure :).

I have a tendency to "hide" what I write. The words belong to me and it feels like they'll stop being "special" when they're out there for everyone else to read. My knees tremble even when I think of publishing something (not that any offers came anyways :). So kudos to you!

Billie | 4:22 AM

You are just like my daughter calling this scarf purple, I personally think of it more as mauve but now that's two of you so maybe I've been outvoted. I live in Ontario, Canada and so unfortunately will not be attending any readings in person but please know that if I could I would be there if I could! I preordered the book months ago and can't wait for it to arrive!! I wish you good luck, great success, and congratulations for publishing your first of what I hope is many novels!!

JC | 6:44 AM

You wrote a book and someone wanted to publish it. That in itself is HUGE.

From your past posts, we have learned about your amazing, creative family roots...all those folks took chances too.

You're carrying on a long family line of kick-ass, brave, creative souls!

The Mommy | 7:26 AM

You're bravery on the blog and in the book are admirable. I'm way to chicken shit to let everyone know me the way you have let us know you.

Happy book birthday! I can't wait until Amazon ships me my copy.

Undomestic Diva | 8:27 AM

So. Freaking. Excited.

Although Amazon.com delayed my shipment by four or five days. Bastards.

Congrats!

Anonymous | 9:00 AM

I would totally come see you if you were coming East Coast way. I will be getting your book and can't wait. Deep breaths!

EW | 9:12 AM

I'm super excited for you and your book! You've got some great supporters out there, and wish you the best of luck your first (and hopefully not last) movel. I hope you kick book tour bootay!

Scarlett | 10:45 AM

i'm sure the book is amazing!! Can't wait to start reading it. :)

nataliejanette | 10:46 AM

t-minus 5 hours till i can go pick up my copy! no housework is getting done tonight, i'm planting myself in the chair with a blanket and a GREAT BOOK!

winomom | 12:36 PM

I mean really, after 40 or so comments, what new can be said/read-worthy? Yet, here I go. I just had to say you are in such an incredibly amazing position, to have been able to do something most of us just DREAM of. Blog to Book! Wow. Aren't most of us just deep down hoping, that golly gee, we could be so lucky? So grab that sick fear by the b*lls, tell it to go go go, and wallow around in the thing that should give you great reason to celebrate. And to hell with criticism, changes you can't make now, all of it that would maybe take from your joy. Remember that old saying about not being able to please all the people all the time? Classic. There will be haters. But they'll be stupid stupid people. Just focus on all the people who are going to LOVE to read what you wrote/birthed through your lifetime of figuring IT out, and still knowing, like we all do, that we KNOW not that much, after all! Most women long to know they're not alone, and your book will touch many because of just that.

Sorry to ramble, but many many kudos, from a stranger, that is sitting here, pleased as punch for you, and covetously green, simultaneously. Go for the feeling good, forget the scary the best you can.

KaritaG | 2:11 PM

Amazon delayed my book too! Damn them! It's going to be amazing. Just think how much we like your blog, which probably hasn't been as reviewed and scrutinized prior to being put out for public consumption as your book has been! Enjoy these moments, because, just like with a baby - one day too soon your book will have been out for a year or two and we'll all be asking you when the next one is coming.

Backpacking Dad | 3:19 PM

Here's some advice my grandfather gave me:

"Just hit the cue ball hard enough to ease the other ball into the pocket."

In other words, in some games there is no difference in result no matter how much more effort you put in, because the game itself isn't responsive in that way.

I don't know from publishing; but maybe it's a game that doesn't respond to stressing out.

So just imagine that we're all naked (which, considering the medium currently being employed, is not just possible, but likely), take two shots of Linkwood 14 year old Scotch, and settle in to be adored by masses of strangers.

Because I'm sure you will be.

bombaygirl | 10:25 AM

Hey! I am coming to your book signing in SF!!! SO looking forward to meeting you and getting my hands on your book. (is Sacramento a possible detour??)

Misha | 3:56 PM

I am working on the day you'll be in Seattle and am SO BUMMED! I have been so looking forward to meeting you.
Have a great time and a great tour!

Carol | 9:30 AM

Hi Rebecca,
Had found your blog recently and also just purchased your book. I'm a new single mom, (baby is 3 months old!) and I just wanted to tell you that I adore your book. So much of it captures exactly how I feel about being a mom, but had not been able to put it into words. Look forward to reading more of your stuff!

Love,
Carol