I have a publisher! Behler Publications, outside Pittsburgh! That really happened! And not only do I have a publisher, I have a cover! That happened, too! I know, I can’t believe it, either!
And not only that, both the publisher and the cover happened within less than a week. Four days, actually. About the time it takes to fly to New Zealand and back, which I’ve never done but would like to, someday, although I’d prefer time to chillax between the the two days there and the two days back.
When I told my dad (meaning Dan, my current father, as opposed to Louis, his late predecessor), he let out a celebratory whoop before reminding me that not so long ago I’d called him up at a low ebb and announced, flat-out, in the grating, nasally monotone of a woman who has gazed so far inside her navel she got her face stuck, that the book would never find a publisher. Ever.
“Remember what you said?” he asked me. “You said you were stupid for even believing it could happen.”
I know, I said. I remember.
“And remember, I said you were being an asshole.”
I remember that, too.
He smiled. He gives me such vast amounts of shit, and the more he gives me, the more I love him.
Even at that nadir, I was glad I’d written the book. Writing it was a gift. Writing it was restorative and transformative, profoundly so. I became someone new as I wrote it: freer of worry, fouler of mouth. Having lost my sister Lucy to suicide in 1992, I knew about grief in the aftermath, but I knew squat about losing a spouse and raising three kids alone. After Chris’s suicide in 2011, I was forced to reconfigure myself, suddenly and dramatically, in ways I could never have imagined. I still can’t imagine them all.
So the book has found a home. It’s due for publication this fall. And for the record: that classic rubbery plumbing device on the cover came straight from the fertile mind of my daughter Madeleine. We were plowing through Indian takeout, and between bites of chana saag, she said, “Mom. They should put a plunger on the cover!”
They should and they did. That really happened, too.