Click here to read Part 8.
I have already shared elsewhere my quote upon holding my published book in my hands for the first time: "This is creepy." Not the cover. I knew what the cover would look like, so I was just concerned about it printing right--and since it did, I only felt relived when I saw it. No, it was flipping through the pages that felt so strange. I saw my words, the words that I had written, here on these pale pages.
Years ago, I used to sometimes look at the shelves in Barnes & Noble to look for the "S" section (since fiction is, of course, organized alphabetically according to the author's last name). I would find where "Skaggs" would go and try and picture what it would be like to see my name there, in between the rows of random books, so many kinds and varieties written by so many people. It was hard to imagine, so intangible.
Likewise, even though I've printed out portions of my book and even the whole thing from time to time, it was very unreal to hold it in actual published form, wholly tangible. Something I can take my usual terrible snapshots of:
At first, I was afraid. Heading to the post office and leaving with the slim cardboard box, I felt sick. I was convinced it hadn't printed right. I felt . . . shy, I suppose, to even have it printed. But oh, you'll never have that experience again--that experience of opening that first box for the first time. Anxiety turns into relief, which turns into excitement.
For a while, I was finished--finished with writing the book, that is. Now I am at the beginning again--the beginning of bringing this book out.
You can buy my book, Black Tree, at this link.