Now my novel officially comes out in less than a month.  For a long time it wasn’t going to be coming out “for months,” as I told people with a dismissive wave of my hand, when they inquired.  I didn’t really have to deal with the idea that eventually it would come out. Instead it became this theoretical thing, as real as the child in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”  But then the months passed and I had to look at actual proofs.  “First pass.”  “Second pass.”  People at my publisher began to talk about my novel as if it were REAL.  They were just like the Edward Albee character Honey.  I thought they were insane.  This… thing didn’t really exist, did it?  But they said it did!  I agreed to make dates to give readings.  I good-naturedly said yes to events that I couldn’t really feel would transpire.  Seattle?  No problem.  LA?  Why, sure!  There was so much time between then and April.  Anything could happen.  Surely time would somehow stand still and I wouldn’t actually have to… publish eventually, would I?  Instead, it would be like a careless bargain I had made with Rumpelstiltskin long ago:  Yeah, yeah, sure, you can have my child.  Yeah, yeah, sure, you can publish my novel…  But now Rumpelstiltskin is coming to pick up his precious winnings!  And my book will appear in print.

Every writer lives in denial when she’s writing.  The writing is everything.  You can make mistakes, you can write badly, you can wander off into a side-trip about a whale––all because you know that you’ll be able to fix it later.  But now there is no later.  On April 5th, Rumpelstiltskin will appear.