It has been awhile, hasn’t it?
Well the book is written. It has been edited many times over in parks and coffee shops and bedrooms all over New York. We have learned a lifetime’s worth about publishing, and reinvented half of it.
I just finished sending all of my writers the final drafts of their stories so we could get approval and send them to “design” (I like to say it like it’s a department and not an amazing human being we are so humbled to be working with).
We are definitely to The Fun Part now— dreaming up infographics, a mini book tour, a ‘ZINE, and The Best Book Party Ever™.
I’m not gonna lie to you guys, because you are my safe space: writing a story that is in a BOOK with your name on it, while managing the production of a book, while working fulltime and trying to find a place to live is A RECIPE FOR CRYING TO YOUR MOTHER.
There was a weekend where my prospective landlord was all, “You have bad credit,” and I still hadn’t found the time/mental space to sit down and finish my story, and we had a meeting with these totally amazing letterpress people (eeee!) and I was crashing at my friend’s apartment and- well, I kind of almost crapped my pants on the street. LITERALLY. Okay!
Then I found the nearest bathroom and stopped crying and got in a cab because I was late to this meeting and met Melissa then we walked in to this huge warehouse filled with ancient printing presses and the guy sat us down and gave us fizzy water and put Nina Simone on the record player and got so excited hearing about our project that i cried happy non-Mom-breakdown tears while “Ooh Child,” played in the background.
(Please don’t tell anyone about the near-pants shitting).
(Okay whatever, you can).
Then the next week we recorded our stories in this little recording studio for our first private event (and first debut of our stories!) that Melissa and Nikola Tamindzic dreamed up. Called C&C:ip (ip stands for in person) (guess IRL was too cheezy? :D), it was held in New York at Cindy Gallop’s otherworldly apartment, where 5 of us writers stood before an audience as our stories played and Nikola took our portaits. The media from the event should be, overwhelming.
The night of the recording I had finished about the 37th draft of my story the night before and had just run from another reading and ran into this random Williamsburg sort of communal loft thing to see Tao Lin coming out of the back room and to meet one of our dear writers, William Ball, for the very first time. When my turn came and I finished giggling and drank some water and read it aloud, all the way through, I realized it was finished. And I LIKED it. I liked it even more when the sound engineer walked us to the train and told us all about his screwy relationship— this practical stranger whose name I did not even know— opening up and relating it back to what I had just read, saying that if his ex-girlfriend read my story she would ‘bawl crying.’ That’s that thing that happens sometimes that reminds us that ‘the sex book is working.’
The event, C&C:ip (in person), was…the scariest thing I have ever done? New? Indescribable? We stood in front of 30 or so people who supported us— financially, emotionally, creatively (most all 3)- in no makeup, in some crazy muslin thing Melissa made us wear (ha!), under bright white light, while our stories rang out in a dark room in our own voices. What was so amazing- and challenging- was that we had recorded them beforehand, alone, just like how we wrote them. It wasn’t performing, it was listening, with the audience. There were no chances for little jokes and asides and self-deprecations. You just stood there and couldn’t take any of it back. I cried. Running theme, see. Afterward someone asked me if I could feel all the compassion everyone in the audience was sending us. I don’t think we could have ever done this if we didn’t know that was there.
One of our writers, Will, brought me his copy of The Wonder Boys to borrow. I am reading it now. I want to hang out with everyone and trade books and stories and be people together.
What will we do when this is over? (Do it again, most likely).
Last weekend we got the entire manuscript (That’s industryspeak for Word Doc That Crashes Your Computer) back from our copyeditor. Yes, we have a real live, professional copyeditor, and she is amazing. She edited out many of my commas- if you can believe it!!!- and just generally turned the book into something we know has all the right spacing and consistency. We established some house rules: for instance, blowjob and website are now one word across the board!
Having the book back meant one very specific, wonderful thing, and that is that while I was moving (I strongly advise anyone who is considering making a book and moving into an apartment at the same time to RECONSIDER), Melissa printed the whole thing out in a fancy Kinko’s way that costs more than an actual book. Which means that for the past 10 days or so I have been walking around town, hugging an actual physical object to my body, flipping through it, reading little pieces of it, and realizing just how goddamn good this thing we all decided to fucking go for really is.
There are 24 stories, and so it is about 24x more powerful than regular books (or so I like to think). 24 human beings pretty much spilled their guts (or various other bodily fluids) out onto the page for you and Jesus, I am in awe of it, as a reader. That is so wonderful to me.
I’ll never forget my first day with the thing— this Kinko’s thing!- getting out of the train, walking up the stairs to go home and realizing it was OUR BOOK that I was holding under my arm. I did not come, but I certainly cried (this joke will indubitably haunt us forever. “How’s it COMING along?” etc. To be honest, it never really gets old).
Right now our DESIGNER is working on it. I can’t wait to tell you guys who is doing it. I have been a major #1 fan of his for awhile now. Also, Peter, my coworker, is making our website, where we can keep up with all of you very soon. You can see all (most?) of this content over there now: comingandcrying.tumblr.com, but it will look really different soon.
We have really missed updating you guys— I know we have said little things on our own Tumblr and Twitter accounts— and we are looking forward to doing this more often again. We, and maybe you too, originally thought the book would have been in your hands by now, but early on we had this moment, I think it was over a shared beer with Tao Lin, where he looked at me and said, Make it good. Don’t rush it.” As antsy as we have been to get it to you, I think we did the right thing. It’s a fucking book. It takes a couple months.
SOON, THOUGH. SOON. Someone asked me what the “pub date” was last night at an Internet party. I was like, “Um? As soon as we finish it and get it back from the printer?” We should know soon, though. And you guys will be the first to know and the first to have it.
I can’t wait for you to hold it in your hands!