Just two days ago I got a sample of what the designer of my book has come up with for the interior pages. I don't think I have ever been quicker to open a PDF, and I think I emitted a little gasp when I saw what she'd come up with: it's gorgeous. Elegant, dignified, crisp. I've never met or even spoken to the book designer, but it's as if she crawled inside my head and was able to see what I -- lacking as I am in any artistic skill or visual vocabulary -- wanted all along. It's just so very pretty, and I think that is so reflective of what I'm trying to get at in The Little Book of Heartbreak: that there is beauty in loneliness and even disappointment.
Like any first-time writer (or so I expect), seeing my words -- mine! -- laid out in book format for the first time was, well, pretty damned magical. It made me feel real. Sure, for years I've made my living writing, but only in the past months have I really felt like a writer I always wanted to be: disciplined, hardworking, creative, and very, very determined. Seeing that person, that work, "made real" by design fills my lungs up, makes me stand straighter, more sure when speaking. It feels that transformative.
And then, there's the writing. All along in this process, I've fussed that I simply didn't have the time to craft the book in the way that I wanted to. I started writing in September, and I finished in March, which means I wrote a 240-page book in seven months. That was terrifying. I was working so fast I had no perspective, all I could think was, "this has got to be utter shit." But now, seeing at least some of my writing laid out in book format, not having read it in a few weeks, I gave a sigh of relief. It's really just fine, and there are turns of phrase that I'm even quite proud of. Most importantly, it reads like me, and the content reflects who I am: random, curious, a bit off-beat. It's eclectic, just the way I wanted it to be. Seeing it now, I can rest assured that no other book out there wanders from ancient Greek love magic to inter-racial love in early 19th century India to Morrissey. The Little Book of Heartbreak is an oddball, just like me.