Well, I’ve given myself a full day and a half to recover. I’ve deliberately kept away from the blog, except for the 80 Post Challenge, hoping I would be able to calm down and tell you this calmly, sensibly, professionally and coherently. We’ll see if I manage.
I came home on Wednesday. Work was its usual self, though I was irritated as hell because my back tyre is flat (again! – I only patched it the day before!) and I had to walk it back. So I was running out of time to relax before my driving lesson, I looked like a twat walking the bike with the helmet on my head that I couldn’t hold in my hand because I had another bag and so on and so on and so on.
So I get home. There’s a brown, Amazon style package on the floor and I have to kinda scoot my bike around it so I can pick it up. I’m already spitting bile about my bike, and my partner is watching me come in with the packet (I’m fairly certain he knew what it was already by the way… now that I think about it, but he wanted the reaction out of me, which is sweet). He takes the bike from me, testing the wheel and I think then we decide that I really am getting a new inner tube at the weekend.
Anyway… that’s not what this story is about. This story is about me turning over the packet and seeing ‘CreateSpace’ on the top right corner. And from that guessing immediately what it is. Everything in me stopped. I had to wait, I had to try to remember how to breathe because, even through the shock at getting the packet early I was aware that breathing is still a healthy and necessary thing to do!
So I sit down with the packet in my lap and close my hands over it. And I can’t open it. I can’t. I just sit there staring at it like a freaky weirdo, occasionally turning it over and feeling out the cellotape on the back which seals it. The tock is clicking away, counting down the minutes until my driving lesson starts and even the arrival of a cup of tea (just the way I like it; splash of milk, no sugar, bag left in) doesn’t seem to help me move. I’m just staring at it, wanting desperately to look, but, for some reason, far too scared. It was bizarre.
Finally I manage to lift a corner of the cellotape back and, once I’ve done that, I can keep going, slowly lifting it away to free the flaps of the cardboard and lift them up. It was like moving through treacle. But I finally got the flaps open and even though I can now feel the shape of the damn thing underneath the last two bends of cardboard I can’t get them open. Its like… I don’t want to look at it. What if its rubbish? What if something has printed wrong? What if, on looking on it, I find a glaring typo in my name or something stupid like that?!
When I do finally manage to lift the flap of the cover letter the first thing I can see is the barcode. Some how realising that I can see the barcode makes it even more real. Its a real product now. Then, when my driving lesson really should be starting, I finally lift the cover letter away and reveal the back cover.
Its just as I saw it on the internet. Exactly as it came out when I went through the CreateSpace website. Then, I turn it over and there… Clash Of The Animal Kings, by Ileandra Young.
He’s flapping around me taking pictures at this point, after watching me the whole time, but I don’t think I really even noticed it until afterwards. I just sat there, staring at it in my lap. My fingers kept brushing over the cover, picking out the edges, tracing the text, turning it over. I couldn’t even open the book for another three minutes. I just kept looking at my name on the cover and on the spine. Then I peeled back the front cover and it came back with that faint reluctance you always find with a brand new book, releasing that smell of clean, freshly pressed paper.
I tried not to cry, honestly. I really really did, but very soon I couldn’t even see the book because my eyes were so misty and then I had to move it so I didn’t get salty tear drops all over the cover. There are pictures of me crying holding onto this book for the first time. -_- I guess its a moment to remember isn’t it? :p
Massive tear tracks on my cheeks, blurry vision, but I get the book open, start looking through the pages, and something inside me swells up to the point that I can feel it pressing against the inside of my chest. My gaze skims down the pages, reading the words I wrote so long ago and picking out the familiar lines, phrases and characters that have been my life for the past eight months. Then I flick back to the front and I see the copyright symbol next to my name near the ISBN. And then I know its true, I know that I’ve really done it. My book is in print.
Now, before you all rush off to buy the thing, this is just a proof copy. I still need to check it to be sure that it really is absolutely perfect before I let it go. But there we are… we’re almost there. As soon as I’m ready to release the book properly I’ll let you know and then, I guess, I’d better get on with creating the shop like I said I would to enable folk to buy it and other purdy things.