WHAT A dreadful arrangement of words. What horrors spawn in the heart by the sound of them, conceived in light of this ambiguous and ominous news: “So . . . I read your book.”
It’s like news of a coming snowstorm. Exciting but uncertain. You hoped you were on your way to a book deal but you slid off into the ditch and now you’re trudging through the snow to the nearest town, each step a new edit to make, a new sentence to revise, a new plot point to reimagine.
Or do delight and intrigue accompany this declaration? Will I be showered with praise like warm spring rain? Will surprise lilies burst forth from the ground all around me, fertilized by a writer’s joy? Is it possible that . . . somehow . . . the news is good?
I have a friend. My friend is the most well-read person I’ll ever meet in my life. A sophisticated reader with canonical taste and a brilliant analytical mind. This friend informed me last week that he’s finished reading my newest novel, one for which I will be seeking representation, a book deal, stardom, etc. Today I’m paying him a visit to discuss it. It’s an exciting day. A soon-to-be snowy day. A someone-read-my-book-and-that’s-rare day. There’s nothing better than listening to someone talk about your story, and knowing they actually paid attention. I’ve been waiting to hear these words for months: “So . . . I read your book.”
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or go running into the snowstorm, never to be seen again. I’m ready for the snow, but I’m on the lookout for lilies.