It’s the night before the day I’ve been waiting for for almost ten years. This time tomorrow I’ll have launched my very first novel into an unsuspecting, (and hopefully reasonably receptive), world. In much the same way that many girls dream about their weddings, I’ve been running through the details of my book launch since the first day I sat down in the coffee island of the Tower Centre and typed the words, “Malcolm Orange was beginning to disappear.” There will be Bob Dylan, (obviously), cupcakes, the Ulster Hall, Sinead Morrissey, Caleb and Izzy, red wine and even redder lipstick; most everything I love squeezed into one smallish, and hellishly hot, room for 60 minutes. The beginning of this journey an awfully long time ago and since then there have been days, and very long nights, when I truly believed I’d never get to this point. Tonight I’m practising my signature and making a, rather long, list of people to thank. Malcolm Orange Disappears is already available in bookstores, it’s really happening, I’ve seen pictures.
Tomorrow I’ll gather with friends and family to give him a proper send off and I should be extremely excited.
People keep saying, “I suppose you’re really excited.”
I am really excited.
I’ve worked very hard for this, sacrificed a lot to bring those 363 pages to print, poured a lot of myself into Malcolm, Cunningham Holt and all his friends and there is a massive part of me which literally cannot wait for tomorrow night. Celebration has always been a big part of my philosophy and I am thankful to have some wonderful people who are willing to share in just how happy I am at this significant point in my life.
However, I have to admit that there are other emotions knocking around inside my head tonight; feelings and small, but significant fears, which have been waking me up at exactly 11 minutes past 4, every morning for the last ten days. What if this book isn’t any good? What if it is good but it’s the only decent book I ever manage to write? What if I can’t remember people’s names when they ask to have their books signed? What if nobody comes tomorrow night or people come because they feel like they have to or just want to drink the free wine? At 11 minutes past 4 in the morning, even the most ridiculous insecurity can seem like gospel truth. Over the weekend I’ve spent my waking, mostly sane, hours doing battle with these insecurities and trying to remind myself that when I finished this novel, long before I showed it to any of my intrepid proof readers, I was really content with how it had turned out. It’s not perfect but I was proud of it then, and confident in its worth. I’m happy with novel and that is the surely most important thing. I will try to remind myself of this tonight when my biological alarm clock goes off and I feel that I, like Malcolm, am just on the verge of disappearing.
I’ve spent a lot of time this week weeding out the truth from the lies and even after some rather hard-core emotional gardening there are still difficult things lingering behind. Truth must be faced but this process is not always easy. This week I’ve found my excitement tempered by a heavy dose of reality. Nothing will really change tomorrow. Yes, I’ll have achieved one of the biggest ambitions of my life but on Thursday morning I’ll be back in my day job, working to pay the mortgage and keep the car on the road, spending my weekends and Bank holidays scribbling away at my next novel. It could be years before I get to write full time. It might never happen and this might be exactly the way my artistic career is meant to progress. There’s just no way of telling how the future will pan out. However, I can be certain that tomorrow night is not the beginning of easy street. There are hard yards still to be put in, many ways to improve as a writer, many disappointments and formative experiences I simply can’t anticipate at this point. Just thinking about the road ahead is somewhat overwhelming and could easily leave me deflated and incapable of enjoying tomorrow and all its head-rushing excitement.
I don’t want this to happen and so I’m choosing to see tomorrow as a mountain peak worth celebrating with every ounce of enthusiasm I can muster. It’s not the last mountain I’ll have to haul myself up and I hope its not even the highest peak I’ll ever experience but it is the highest I’ve been so far and that is worth raising a rather large glass to and enjoying for what it’s worth; a very brilliant thing!