Sunday was our official book launch for our novel Galahad’s Fool. Perfect venue: Main Stage West, the small theatre in downtown Sebastopol where we produced The Tempest, Drake’s Drum and King Lear. We read from the book, performed a couple of puppet sketches (since the book is about a puppeteer), answered questions, and then laid on salmon cups and prosecco. Enormously satisfying.
And now there’s the huge tsunami of anxiety: what now?
I’ve never been subject to genuine depression. I’ve seen it at close hand, and I’ve known the tweets of it, but for me, it’s been more like a condiment spread over daily reality, imparting a flavor to my work, but never of sufficient thickness to blunt my neurotic obsession with the next project and the next and the next. We both believe intensely in our projects—or if we lose faith we explore it till we find the right channel—but the actual getting it out to the public arena, gaining the audience for the play or the readership of the book, that’s in itself an art that we have yet to master. I can write a slam-dunk press release, but I’m about twenty years behind finding what sells here & now. To date we’ve had four superlative pre-pub reviews of the book and wonderful personal responses—and sold 41 copies.
Launching into a new art form at age 76 & 78—well, there’s the craft itself, and then there’s the peer subculture, the marketing methods, the genre identities, the smell factor—everything that influences the moment when someone sees our blurb and decides to spend fifteen bucks for a print version or $2.99 for the e-book and, most important, to sacrifice the time to enter our collective head.
Thus far, the promotion has involved a vast amount of work, and it may pay off, though I feel at times that I’d have to commit a major felony to attract interest. And work continues on edits of two more novels, Chemo and Blind Walls, and the start of the third draft of Masks, so the decision’s been made to run this marathon many times, till we have to do it on walkers. I guess the lesson-in-life that we keep learning over and over is this: it never gets easier, never ever. My mom thought maybe I could be a barber, and Elizabeth started pre-med, but we wound up choosing this.