On Friday I received the fantastic news that The Birdman’s Wife has come back from the printer. A copy for me has been express posted to my address, due to arrive either Monday or Tuesday. All writers know the excitement of waiting for their contributor’s copies to turn up–dented, rain-damaged, flawless–listening out for the postie, trying not to be distracted beavering away on a new project. Grants, offers, cheques, contracts, they all arrive via post. When I was younger, notification of publication or rejection was received by snail mail too, and I became unconsciously tuned to the red and fluoro yellow flash of the postie. I knew I was being productive when I was listening out all the time. It always feels great to have a few pieces circulating.
So of course, today, amongst various jobs, I had an ear out. The postie came by at 12.30 to deliver a bank statement and some propaganda from the council. Disappointed but not surprised, I went back to marking. What would you know, but half an hour later, a second postie bike flashed by and then stopped, idling before the postbox, digging about in his panniers. This time a parcel was left behind.
The gods had smiled on me! I waited until he was out of sight and then closed the computer and straightened my dress. No matter what, I said to myself, you’ll remember this moment forever. Are you ready? My stomach flipped as I opened the door, no doubt whatsoever in my mind that my book was here. What would it look like? Would it be all I had dreamed of and more? Should I take a photo of the unopened packet for posterity?
Just do it, I said to myself. You don’t need to share every-bloody-thing! This one’s for you.
I opened the letterbox and lifted out a smallish package. Hmmm. Wasn’t it supposed to be a bit bigger? I checked the sender’s address: it was from my publisher. I bent the packet this way and that -my book’s a hardcover- and it flexed! Hmmm.
The wait (the second most important trait of a writer) continues. With any luck, The Birdman’s Wife will be in my hot little hands tomorrow. In the meantime, my wonderful publisher has sent me some merchandise to enjoy, which of course I can’t resist sharing.