Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The July 19th Glob Post

Today is July 19th. It is a date that we've had circled on our calendar ever since the doctor gave the green light to our inaugural Reproduction Project. So last night I went to bed feeling pretty confident that because our due date was July 19th, I would wake up in the morning, and our new little bundle of a rock star would be sleeping there in the very crib we've been using as a storage bin for the last two months.

I was wrong.

This is fine. As long as my belief that our child will be born with the ability to change his own diaper is soon validated, I'm okay with being wrong every once in a while.

You really can't argue with the mighty stork. He's got his own ideas of a due date, and we here are powerless against his scattershot schedule. That said, over these last two weeks, the general emotional climate of our cozy condo has been all over the map. Two weeks ago, we were glowing with excitement, tying up all loose ends and preparing for the little guy to land. Last week, the mood shifted to a healthy anxiety as we wondered each morning if this would be our boy's birthday. And this week...

Well, this week our little pinball machine may have finally gone *TILT*

Evidence of this:

I've recently been hard at work inventing a new, though slightly derivative brand of footwear. The key component of the design being a hand-painted logo on a pair of dirt cheap high-end Flip-Flops. My misguided mission: To create a phenomenon much like the Air Jordan sneaker craze in the 80s and 90s. Only with Flip-Flops.

Not just Flip-Flops, but Air Zoe Flip-Flops.

That's right - Air Zoes.

Admit it - you know you want a pair.

I'm not the only lunatic here, however. See, just yesterday, I caught my wife in a wholly embarrassing position. Yes, while waist deep in accounting spreadsheets, I caught her singing along to a Whitney Houston song... complete with dramatic facial expressions befitting only the most self-assured of divas.

Seriously, as I watched her sing, I could feel how truly passionate she was when she decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow.

So yeah. We here in Babyland, we're not quite right at the moment. Truth is, I almost forgot that I'd planned on writing more here before the baby came, but fortunately my wife reminded me.

"Don't forgot to write a Glob Post," she said.

Even worse, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

Probably for the best that we're getting our dim bulb moments out of our system now, huh?  The good news is that I've written out a checklist of things to bring to the hospital when it's Go Time:

1. Baby Clothes & Gear
2. Car Seat
3. Wife

Oh yeah. I've got this totally under control.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Number 19,821 With A Bullet!

I am absolutely certain that raw vulnerability and the corresponding unbridled angst are the bane of the debut novelist. Thank You For Flying Air Zoe took about three years to go from the flicker of an idea to the bonfire of a full novel. During these years, I moved from LA to Seattle, got married in Maine, and essentially ended the novel as a totally different writer than the guy who started it. The Air Zoe project traveled some truly important miles with me, and in so doing, became indelibly etched into the scrapbook of these miles.

This book. It was so very important to me and my amazing new family.

Cut to today, about eleven months after finishing Air Zoe,which has now been available for the grand total of about a week. I am undeniably excited about this. For me, the story of Zoe and The Flip-Flops is now more real than ever. It is officially Flip-Flop Season, and I am undeniably excited about this.

I am also a nervous wreck of a writer with a jaw-dropping list of silly concerns...

Is there is an evasive typo somewhere in the story that dodged endless edits, and will somehow torpedo my fledging career?

Will '80s pop music darlings The Go-Go's take offense at my referencing them without permission and serve up a crippling law suit?

Will people like the book?

Will people even buy the book?

Vulnerability and angst are not emotions that can't be quantified.  Or are they? See, I think they are. I think they can be accurately measured with the employment of one cruel and uncompromising internet measuring stick...

The Amazon Sales Rank.

As a reader, I never paid a speck of attention to this. I bought what interested me, regardless of where the book landed in global popularity contests. Yet in my first week of actually having a novel on Amazon, I have become mildly obsessed with checking my own Sales Rank. I have high-fived my wife upon cracking the top 100,000, and I have huddled in the corner gnawing on my hand when I slip below 300,000. Never mind that I don't have a clue what these figures mean - I just want that number as low as possible.

Or rather as high as possible.

See, I don't even know what I want. That's the power of the Amazon Sales Rank - it makes irrational buffoons out of all authors unequipped to fend off anxiety.

Anyway, yesterday was a big day for me on the charts. I rose to my highest point yet. Thank You For Flying Air Zoe was ranked #8,110. I had somehow, at least on this magical day, powered past novels by Snooki and Nicole Richie. And in my sights, literary wunderkind Justin Bieber and his recently released memoir.

For the record, at 17, I was not writing a memoir. I was skipping school to drink cheap beer on top of ski jumps, at the base of local ledges, and in the drivers' seats of logging equipment left alone for in local forests.

Suffice it to say, I don't give myself much of a shot at catching this kid. He's hovering near 3,000, and after yesterday's peak, I'm now at...

Ugh. 26,537. When I started writing this, I was climbing, and my ranking has risen from about 30,000 back up to 19,821. But now I see that I have tumbled a bit. Tuesday has become more Roller than Coaster. If anxiety is the bane of the writer, then the Amazon Sales Rank is uncut Kryptonite.

I expect that soon I will become immune to these numbers. And truth be told, my "obsession" has already become more of a comedy than a drama, which I suspect will allow me to maintain a proper perspective.

Still, who doesn't want their work to be admired, y'know? I have always aspired to both entertain my readers, and to a tangential extent, leave some sort of small positive mark upon their lives. This here is my first opportunity to do just that, and I hope I leave no bullets in the chamber in my efforts to win over as wide of an audience as possible.


It's cool. I've got faith in this book. I think we can go places.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's A Book!

The first of two amazing July deliveries arrived just the other day, leaving me proud, awestruck, and totally wiped out.  I had been given a mid-July date for its expected arrival, but you know, sometimes The Fates have other ideas. In this case, the bundle came early.

So anyway, here are the vitals...

Birthdate: July 5, 2011
Height: 61 inches
Weight: 72 pounds

One day I will read them all!
And as you can see from the photo, this bundle is a little literary monster that's already trying to leave home.

Here's the thing. It would have been more than enough seeing just one copy of my first novel, Thank You For Flying Air Zoe. This was a project that spanned about four years between inception and fruition, so I'd grown attached to its fate. Yeah, if I had been given even a single copy of this, I'd have been ecstatic.

But I didn't receive just one copy.

I received 96 copies. All at once.

So I did what any author would do when presented with such a rare opportunity. I stacked them on top of one another so I could see which one of us was taller.

Three-quarters of the way through the stacking, things got serious. Kind of like when you're deep into a game of Jenga, and you realize upon surveying the unstable wooden tower in front of you that physics will not allow you to extract this next piece. To be sure, the game is just about over.

Yes, at about 85 books, my tower started to topple. However, just as I did when I was bogged down while writing the novel, I swore, pouted and stomped like a two-year-old, swore again, then blindly pressed on. Rome wasn't built in a day, but this book tower would be.  Never mind that it was closing in on 11PM, or that my 38 weeks pregnant wife was staring as though she was just then realizing that all adult decisions regarding parenting would heretofore be made solely by her. My wires had crisscrossed. This tower needed to be completed.

Apparently publication itself was not the end game.

The end game was a five foot tall book tower that needed to be raised, at any cost to the collective household sanity.

So... You wanna know what happens when you see your book in print for the very first time? Or analogously, what happens when you achieve something that's been on your to-do list for one hell of a long time?

You completely lose your mind.

But you know what?

My kid is totally gonna have a dad who can build towers out of pretty much anything!

So I think it was all worth it, don't you?