Ephemereality is Almost a Word
I’ve morphed this blog into many contortions this past year, but lately it’s been about the uncertain route a book must travel toward publication, its eventual culmination a rare and ephemeral event whose essence I pondered while lying in bed last week watching the Earth’s shadow creep across the full moon just prior to sunrise – a total lunar eclipse so convenient I didn’t even have to get up for it.
Seeing something nearly 240,000 miles away, but unfolding right outside my bedroom window is a lot like the yearning to be published. The object of desire looks so close but is actually so very far away, and so many things have to fall into place for this experience to occur successfully: our location in the universe, in the solar system, on Earth. The timing of the full moon at night, and whether it’s happening at a time I actually want to be awake. The weather and visibility so easily compromised by clouds, wind, or the inherent activity of any atmosphere (in foggy San Francisco most astronomincal events are over before they even begin).
And yet it happened; the sky was clear, the timing was perfect and the eclipsed moon itself, glowing a soft red during totality, was surprisingly spectacular (I’ve been disappointed by many past lunar eclipses, but perhaps my expectations are too high).
Life rarely works out this well.
My manuscript is currently with Atticus Press, the nicest folks who’ve ever not given me an answer, and whether it’s an eventual yes or no, I want to give them a major shout-out for the modest amount of respect and attention they’ve been able to send my way. The fact that they asked to read my manuscript after I sent them a sample, the fact that they always reply to my emails, even if it’s just to say: not yet, please be patient.
There are so many good writers out there, so few books that actaully get published, so little money to be made in a diminished market that’s evolving in convoluted ways we can’t even fathom, must less see clearly.
For the writer, it’s the prolonged torture of waiting. Even giving it the best spin possible, waiting for publication is an experience that remains ever-elusive. The strain of trying to see that far, that well, across such a well-trod yet perilous expanse is almost painful, but looking away is out of the question. Because I might lose my footing and destroy all the progress I’ve made up to this point. Because what’s happening out there is rare and ephemeral and must be experienced. Because any moment the sky may clear and I can reach out and grab the moon, pull it in through my bedroom window and hold it in my hands. Because I’ve chosen to experience the entirety of the event and it’s not over yet.
Nothing can take the place of an actual visual experience like the lunar eclipse I saw last week.
I will feel that way again when I see my book, when I can hold it in my hands, leaf through the pages or swipe through the e-version, and think finally at last, the ephemeral has become real.