So this is it. My last deb post and my first book launch both in the same week.
I have to be honest, I’m a little nervous about both leaving this grog and finally stepping out in the world. It has taken me so long to reach this point in my career that I never thought it would arrive and yet now that it has it all seems to have happened so fast.
But maybe it is finally time for me to launch into the world and meet some of you in person and read from my book (although I’m warning you I might weep… but also promise to make you laugh) and answer your questions and listen to your stories.
For those I won’t see on the road, I thought I’d share the little introduction to my readings I wrote out the other day to explain how I ended up writing a memoir:
UPDATE… since I posted this, I actually did this intro at a benefit in Madison last Saturday night and while started off sort of reading from it, I actually said the rest completely off-the-cuff. Just so you know, I left some stuff out and added other stuff. What a blast!!! But this pretty much what I said:
It is both wonderful and a little surprising I am here to discuss and read from my memoir CANCER IS A BITCH (Or, I’d Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis) since I never planned to write a breast cancer memoir. Because I never planned to get the cancer that would prompt that. But in 2006 after just completing my second novel about a woman who finds a lump in her breast and thinks she might have breast cancer and wonders if she’s lived a meaningful life, I went in for my annual mammogram and was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. A week later I had a lumpectomy and found out my agent hated the breast cancer novel. The writing disappointment was a minor blip compared to how the diagnosis had rocked my world. I was stunned and panicked and paralyzed and even after I was told it was non-invasive and they got it all out, I couldn’t write, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything other than Google health and medical sites and obsess about recurrence rates and make homemade batches of organic facial creams and scribble my deepest rawest craziest most intimate thoughts into a journal my husband pressed into my hands. I never planned to show those words to anyone. In fact I wrote them thinking this was a way I didn’t have to burden my friends and family with my crazy thoughts. Nobody close to me had ever had cancer. Not my parents or in-laws. None of my friends. And while I knew they all cared, I guess I felt alone in my deepest thoughts and fears. But eventually, I wrote those thoughts into an essay called CANCER IS A BITCH and sent it to some trusted writer friends who said it was powerful and I had to do something with it. But what was it? And what would I do with it? Soon after that I read that Literary Mama was looking for columnists and on a whim I pitched it and they said yes and I started writing the column Bare-breasted Mama. The responses from readers, many whom hadn’t had cancer but either knew someone who had or just responded to the midlife issues about motherhood and marriage and career that I wrote about, were so soulful, that next thing I knew, I pitched the idea of writing it into a book to a new agent and he sold it and that’s why I am here.
READING here. Chapter 3 and if more time chapter 6
Before your questions, I want to say that while the book is about my brush with breast cancer, it’s really more about how the diagnosis served as a catalyst for me to re-examine the entire trajectory of my life, the choices I made, the ones I didn’t make. And it ended up inspiring dramatic changes in my life. I stopped hesitating so much. I re-negotiated my relationship with myself and my husband and slowly started becoming the person I’d always meant to be and living the life I’d meant to live. And in the two and half years since my surgery, I wrote and sold this book, ran two half marathons, went to yoga bootcamp, launched two daughters off to college, trained two puppies, and finally saw Italy. So whether you’ve had cancer or been touched by it, or not, I don’t want you to be afraid of a book with the word cancer in the title. I know the word scares some people. But the book is actually very life-affirming and my hope is that by vicariously experiencing my ups and downs and ups again that you will be inspired to take a fresh look at your life and start living your life as if it matters. All of it. Right now.
That’s it. That’s what I’ll be saying (more or less) September 30th at Kepler’s in Menlo Park and October 1st at Book Passage in Corte Madera and Books Inc. on Chestnut Street in San Francisco and October 5th at Bluestockings Radical Bookstore and October 7th at KGB Bar in NYC… and other places all listed in detail here. So if you’re anywhere near any of those hoods, I would love to see you! Also, if you live in or near San Francisco, you can see me on KGO-TV “View from the Bay” on tomorrow!
And to each and every one of you debs past and present and to all our loyal readers, you have made this journey more amazing than I ever dreamed it could be. Thank you is not enough.