I am currently living in a two-story home in the suburbs of King of Prussia, watching a very intelligent and happy Eskipoo dog, T.J., named after a literary figure; I forget whom, maybe a character in To Kill a Mockingbird? We have done mostly nothing today, aside from watching ten episodes of the first season of Project Runway, flipping through back issues of Domino and In Style, and folding laundry. I realize from being here that I am completely sick of my bathroom; more specifically, I hate the tiny, free-standing sink that seems more suited to a small boat than one in a home. Every time I attempt to wash my face, I end up standing in a puddle of water. What a luxury to be staying in a place where you can actually put things down on the bathroom counter. Is there anything I can do to make my bathroom more user-friendly? Aside from shrinking my body down to child-size, I don't think so.
T.J. has been a dreamboat this whole time. All he wants me to do is to throw the ball in the back yard and to let him lean on my leg. He even followed me down into the basement, a place Stephanie told me he doesn't ever visit because of some dark, puppyhood memory he has. I have also realized that I am somewhat OCD. I find it difficult not to arrange things by size or function, not to tidy up and put all of the grocery coupons together or make sure the small pots on the back porch are facing the same direction. It reminds me of when Lynn visited me in Chicago and I returned home from work one day to find that she had rearranged my living space to suit her aesthetic. She had a lot of time on her hands while I was gone and most likely thought she was doing me a favor, but I was slightly offended to find that she had squirreled away my charming Pez dispenser collection and vetoed my doilies. So, I do not want Stephanie to come home and feel critiqued because of my overwhelming urge to make things line up in a certain way.
Eight copies of my book arrived on Thursday. So weird to actually see it in print. I know that everyone will think the girl on the cover is me, though clearly, she's dressed from the 1950s and I'm not that old. I do love the old yellow cat on the cover. And it's true that the photo works well with most of the stories; all of which are about this awkward girl (not ME, of course).
What do I do now? The book doesn't come out until November 28, but I feel like I need to be proactive and start selling myself. For some reason, all of this stresses me out. It has to do with being the center of attention. Most of my friends probably think that I love to be in the spotlight because I am often loud and silly, but the truth is that it's hard for me to have too much attention focused my way, or maybe it's hard for me to accept that this is a good thing. My co-worker, Joe, said the other day, You must be ecstatic. I said, Not really. My range of emotions is fairly contained. He said, But this is a big thing. How many people can say they've had a book published? I said, Lots. He said, No, not lots. I should be past the point now where I need other people to tell me how I should feel about my life, but I'm not. When Padhraig said he bought the book on-line ahead of time, I wanted to be like, Oh, no, you don't have to do that! I don't want to be this person who is self-depreciating to my own detriment. Maybe it's that I feel like a fraud because I haven't written a new story in so long. That's probably a big part of it. I feel like I should make an announcement, Enjoy this now because you will never read anything else of mine ever again. I've given that up. I'm into decoupage now. But fine, if you want to pre-order the book, you can here. And if you happen to have a personal connection with Oprah or The New York Times Review of Books, feel free to recommend it to them.