Since my book went to print and will be on shelves and available online in 8-12 weeks, I find myself in an awesome mood. Aside from telling anyone who will listen, I feel peace and serenity. Some of me feels too good to be true, but another part of me feels as if a door has been blown wide open. I don’t feel over-elated but rather peaceful.
My mother has always said my writing would open the door for me. There’s nothing wrong with that. It opened the door for Dan Ackroyd, Prince, Bruno Mars and many others. People have always read my blogs, and the things that have taken off have always been my original ideas.
My mom is stoked. She is singing and dancing. My dad is already plotting my musical version of my book. Last week my mom had the big yearly, “What are you doing, where are you going?” meltdown. We were still settling on publishers. Perhaps it was her fear that it wouldn’t happen and my book would continue to sit in my drawer. We were so close.
This week she is walking on Cloud 9 with me. Monday she encouraged me to get my nails done. She was so proud. She is already plotting my next book, and she is starting her book on infant swimming. My mom helped me edit my book, now it’s my turn. We are also talking about doing a children’s book together.
I am filming a pilot for MTV2/Adult Swim Today and tonight I am doing some standup. In the meantime, I am telling anyone who will listen about my book.
Two summers ago, I sat in a hot apartment without air conditioning banging out a very rough first draft at the behest of my late friend Joe Cannava. He wouldn’t shut up until I wrote it so I did it. Before that my mother had been pestering me for years to write this book. I kept telling her no. It was the combination of my mother and Joe. I finally did it. I just remember the sweat pouring off of me and the walks by the pier in between chapters. I thought writing it was fun but almost killed me at the same time. But I knew it would be worth it.
The following summer I pitched the book to a literary agent who panned it. Then I was with a different publishing house but we didn’t like the contract. In between all of that I remember editing the book while drinking black coffee the weekend of the hurricane last summer. It rained all weekend and we were afraid of flooding. I had my canned food, my munitions, and just lived on black coffee for almost forty eight hours. I read, reread, and reread some more. I ultimately passed on the smaller publishing house that wasn’t giving me the contract I wanted. I didn’t know where to go next.
My friend and former NY Post columnist Mandy Stadtmiller encouraged me to self-publish on Kindle. A friend of my sister’s had done it and she had some ideas. We proceeded on that track, and my mother and I spent all winter editing my book just one more time. For three months, we had several phone dates a week and we just went through the book to make sure it sounded the way we wanted it to. We made sure no one in the family was unintentionally slandered, and that it read the way we wanted it to. Even until the end, my mother agonized over the ending more than I did. Nonetheless, it was the next step we took and as usual, my mom and I took it as a team.
Soon I began to look at places to self-publish. During that time I went through a lot of things. I got injured kickboxing. Money was tight. The weather sucked. Career breaks that looked incredible fell through. I just remember it felt like I was walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. It felt like the end of everything and perhaps I had made a wrong turn by embarking on a life and career as an artist.
Then I landed on a place.
Last week was the agony over the contract, the final draft. Monday I sent everything off and in eight to twelve weeks I Came, I Saw, I Sang will be available online and in some stores.
The sun is shining and I feel on a pink cloud. I feel incredible and contented. I feel, pardon the metaphor, the next chapter of my life will be incredible.
I don’t know why, but as I told my mother, “Mom, this isn’t the end but the beginning.”
My mother agreed. As I said she is plotting my next book. My dad as I said is plotting the musical. I just want to tap dance and tumble my way to heaven.