Now that my wacky book has been sort of kind of maybe apparently published (the official pub date is Oct. 21, but I’ve heard reports of its thudding arrival on doorsteps), I want to share a few guidelines for reading it that you should know going in. Some of these guidelines are the same paranoid and obsessive directives I’ve been repeating ad nausinfinitum to friends and family. Others I’m making up right now, pretending as though I’ve put great, brain-crunching thought into them. But all of them are important.
The first guideline: NO ONE HAS TO READ THIS BOOK. I will not take offense if you don’t. If you’re my pal and you don’t read it, you’ll still be my pal. If you’re my dental hygienist and you don’t read it, you’ll still be my dental hygienist. If you know someone who knows someone who knows me and you don’t read it, you’ll still know someone who knows someone who knows me. And if you don’t know me at all? But you’re thinking you ought to read it the way you ought to have a colonoscopy when you turn 50? Well, you ought to go ahead and have a colonoscopy before you read my book. The point being, THERE IS NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER TO READ THIS BOOK, BE IT MORAL, SOCIAL OR ENDOSCOPIC.
Second, if you do know me personally and you do choose to read the book, YOU MUST PROMISE TO KEEP TALKING TO ME AFTERWARD. Because, you know, I embarrass the shit out of myself in a couple of chapters. I’ve actually considered drawing up a legally binding contract on this point –- as in, “I, the undersigned, vow to maintain communication with the author of [Figuring Shit Out] even if some of the sentiments and personal revelations contained in [Figuring Shit Out]prompt me to spit and choke violently on my roasted garlic hummus.”
Third, speaking of sudden gag reflexes in response to aforementioned book, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LAUGH AT MUCH OF THE WEIRDNESS DESCRIBED THEREIN, and you mustn’t feel guilty about it. In a related corollary, IF YOU DON’T LAUGH AT SAID WEIRDNESS, YOU MUSTN’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THAT, EITHER. I’m fine with any response to anything anyone reads anywhere in the book; consider yourself now empowered to laugh, weep, roll your eyes, snort in disdain, howl in abject terror or grind your teeth to small, powdery nubs. Seriously. Just so long as YOU PROMISE TO KEEP TALKING TO ME AFTERWARD, we’re good.
Finally, REST ASSURED, AS YOU READ IT, THAT MY KIDS AND I ARE OKAY. In fact, we are more than OKAY. Life is ekshually pretty darned wonderful at the moment. It still has its dips, it still has its turns, it still has those moments when I’m folding laundry in the basement and my tear ducts suddenly discharge saline and my schnozz discharges snot, and soon I’m wearing flowery rubber rainboots and plashing through a flood of my own salty outwash. Three years after my husband’s suicide, it hits me sometimes. But even when it does, I am more than all right. The moment ends. And life is huge. My kids and I are still here, and we’re still loving and laughing, and that’s what counts. I’ll be just fine, SO LONG AS YOU KEEP TALKING TO ME .