Freefall

I’ve been pushed out of an airplane and am waiting to see if my chute opens. This is the exciting part. This is where the action is. Will I land gently and on target, or will I crash into that guy’s barn? I joke, but that really happened recently on the Cape. Two men died. One an experienced skydiver, the other a young man on his first jump. Tragedy all around.

I would never jump out of an airplane, but I can see why people do. That rush, literally and figuratively. If I could have one superpower, it would be to fly. That wouldn’t solve any of the world’s problems, but it would be a lot of fun.

For me, the metaphor of jumping from a plane, my rush and fear, comes from the news that my first novel, Wishbone, will be published by Bedazzled Ink. I’ve got the cover art to prove it, and they have me and the book on their website.

I’ve been working on this book for so long that I truly began to feel that it would forever remain my own private story. So forgive me for feeling a little ambivalent about sharing it with the world. Or with the .0000001 percent who might actually read it.

This also marks my entry into the world of blogging, of running a website, of being a product, not just a producer. I’m ambivalent about that too.

I know from my own experience as a reader that it’s fun to get to know authors. It doesn’t make their writing any better and sometimes I wish I didn’t know how autobiographical their novel is, but authors are real people, with hopes and dreams and cats bent on foiling both. Some are hysterically funny, others more circumspect. Does it make a difference?

As I type these word, I technically haven’t jumped yet. The website will go live with this post. So I’m still in the doorway, imagining what the rush to the ground will feel like. It’s too late to turn back. I can’t change my mind now. One way or another, I’ll be flying soon.

I’ll complain, but I won’t resist. The whole point of writing stories is to share them with others. In On the Media last week, Brooke Gladstone commented that humans are hardwired for narrative, that we can’t deal with data, so we tell stories. AIDS was just a number till Rock Hudson died from it. Ebola (the point of the On the Media story) didn’t exist until two Americans contracted it and were flown home for treatment.

The modest me believes I don’t have much new to add to the blogosphere, if it’s even called that anymore. Is blogging so 20th century? If that were true, I wouldn’t write at all. Give five writers the same prompt and you’ll get five completely different stories. That’s the beauty of being human. We really are unique. Just ask two sisters to recall a shared incident from childhood. Depending on their relationship, the results could be funny, odd, or frightening. But they won’t be the same.

So I will step from the plane. If my parachute opens, it will be a different color from anyone else’s, I’ll land and get back in the plane to do it again. If it does not open, if my book flops and no one reads it or gives me more than two stars on Amazon, I’ll still get back in the plane. I’ll keep writing. It’s the only way I know to make sense of my world.

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