It's snowy here on the East Coast and February is coming, bringing with it (among other things) my birthday and the release of Into the Everything. Today, because my school has closed down due to "inclement weather," I decided to take a walk in the snow, come home, and read "Seymour, an Introduction," the last short story by J. D. Salinger that I've yet to read.
I am ponderous, as tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of J.D. Salinger's death, leaving behind sixty years of unanswered questions and hopefully, a large bibliography of posthumous releases.
But what makes me so ponderous on that anniversary eve is what made J.D. Salinger so reclusive, especially considering his wholesale success as a writer in the 50s. Perhaps it was just that, the wholesale success, that made him forfeit all of his acclaim for a preferred life of unending solitude (ending only at his end).
As I copy edit Into the Everything time and time again, choose book design images, and pose for photos, I can't help but understand, to an extent how Salinger felt pre-hermitage. After all, I never wrote a word to see myself on a back cover. I never moaned over an incomplete sentence just to have my work reviewed on any sort of grand scale. In short, I have to admit that I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the whole publishing thing. Ask my publisher, and you'll soon be told at how difficult I was with contract negotiations.
Ever since finishing ITE, and looking to query and publish, I've felt a bit unfaithful. Perhaps to my craft, or the esoteric concept of being an "artist." My goal was never to be commercial, to earn money from my love for writing. Of course, of course-of-course-of-course I am happy that my book now has the potential to make it into the hands of readers. That is, in a way, what I write for. Still, marketing, blogging, dust jacket blurbs; they make me uncomfortable.
I couldn't even write my author's bio (thanks Billy). In short, the publication of the novel I spent so much blood on is thrilling; Feb 22nd couldn't come fast enough, but now I feel I must acclimate to this new part of the old world: that of a published writer. A brand. A businessman. At the wolf's mouth.
I don't mean to compare myself to Salinger in any way; that would be a gross misstatement. Still, if you ever get a chance to read my book, hopefully you'll be met with the me of three years ago, when I wrote the book starving in a small Philadelphia apartment, happy as Hell because I had the dexterity to type, and in compete ignorance of the potential of the future.