Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, For Cory's Sake

I like the baby metaphor for "Cory". Publishing put For Cory's Sake out into the world, where he was able to travel to places like California and Michigan and Virginia and Texas, and London, and make the acquaintance of new people, freed from the security and obscurity of my hard drive. He was able to have a life.

The metaphor makes me Cory's "mother." I am not the mother of any human, yet. I do have six younger siblings, and was cognizant of the infancies of the youngest three. I know that babies are life-changing experiences, and in this way as well the metaphor fits like a modern diaper. In the past year, I've had experiences I would've never had had I not decided to publish--experiences for which I am very grateful. Here are the highlights:

I discovered Twitter: I am mentioning this first because it leads into number two. I first heard about Twitter in the past year, from Clark Covington (@ClarkCovington), an internet marketing service provider whose mailing list I had joined. Soon after I got on Twitter, #iranelection broke, and I was hooked. I grew up in a town of 13,000, have never traveled outside the U.S. nor lived east of the Rockies. #iranelection caused the world to open up before me, as never before: bigger, more real and more accessible than I'd ever felt it before; with great and terrible things going on in it every second. #iranelection on Twitter was an eye-opening, life-changing experience. I see and learn about my world differently now than I did before.

I found people who share my interests: more of them than in all of the years previous to publishing For Cory's Sake. I donate all my royalties, from Cory, to orgs that serve abused (or neglected or exploited) children. During the publication process, I had to decide whether or not to go public with this intention. I decided to go public. Now, I was wearing my concern for this issue on my sleeve, for the first time in my life.

And then I joined Twitter. I learned how easy it is to find people who share my interests, on Twitter. I found people who share my interests, all over the world. I found a constant stream of information, and caring, and reports of people doing things about the issue. I found myself inspired on a nearly daily basis.

I also met other writers: more than I'd met in all of the years previous to Cory's publication. Writers are fascinating people: brave, enterprising, supportive, thoughtful, diverse, multi-faceted . . .Smiley. Again, I met people I would've never met had I never published--and it's hard, now, to imagine such a barren reality . . .

I got to practice life-skills "learned" from years of watching ESPN: The-job-that-pays-my-mortgage is in retail. Now, you get criticized in retail, but criticism in retail and many other jobs (I've had many other jobs) never cuts to the core of one's self; never threatens one's actual identity. I have long thought, that the fields in which criticism does cut the deepest, and threatens one's identity are: professional athletics, and the arts. (If you need examples, you could watch Skip Bayless talk about "certain wide receivers" on 1STand10, watch American Idol or similar, or read Twilight's "1-star" reviews.

My television, when it is on, is usually on a forensics/detective/FBI/etc. marathon--or ESPN. And I have long been consciously impressed by athletes who can take public criticism gracefully. From years of watching ESPN, and knowing what field I was getting into, I knew Cory and I would be criticized, and I was determined to be gracious about it. And with the prep I received, I did durn good. Thank you, certain quarterbacks.

I learned my strengths and gained confidence: For Cory's Sake was a pretty ambitious concept, for a first novel. The execution was not as high-level as it could've been (I've heard), but critics and fans alike agree that its story was original, unique, different, imaginative and odd. I'm good with this, as I think execution (like athletic fundamentals) should be easier to refine than imagination (think wingspan) would be to acquire. "Storyteller" is a confirmed and happifying part of my identity, now.

This finishes my reflections on the first year of Cory's life, with all of its experiences and growth. Thanks, my darling babySmiley.