Here it is: release week. It’s rather fitting that my regular posting day here is also my release day. Today I’m driving to my hometown—Rochester, New York—for my release party. I am looking forward to seeing some of my childhood friends, some of whom are mentioned in the book, and others who were present at the time but not mentioned. I’m looking forward to my snack trays from Wegmans. (Wegmans is like a regional grocery store cult.) My parents are choosing not to attend, which I have mixed feelings about. It’s weird to have such a big life event without my parents there, but I’d be more anxious if they were attending. Memoir is a tough beast for a family to deal with.
I’ve been struggling with guilt this week. Memoir is, they say, always an act of betrayal.
Then I saw this Facebook post from my friend, Amy Eaton:
To say that it’s gratifying to see so many echoes of my own story in this book is a huge understatement. I guess I wasn’t aware—even now in middle age, even as my own writing addresses similar issues – how invisible I felt until I read someone else’s story with so many parallels. It’s amazing how knowing that just one person can relate to something that no one else you know has experienced can make you feel like your story counts too. Thanks, Lara Beth Lillibridge! Read this book, friends. It’s beautiful.
That’s why I wrote the book. Not for my parents, not for good reviews or sales, but for another daughter with a lesbian mother who’s never seen anything close to her family on the page before.
I feel proud and excited and terrified and exposed to have my book come into the world all in one. I have been working towards this moment for a decade. I wrote this book for an unknown reader I was sure that was out there, that needed to read my story. As I go through the day today, I will keep Amy Eaton’s words with me.
The terror—and there’s lots—for writing an honest book that shows my flaws and my family’s is mitigated by the knowledge that one person needed me to write this book. And now that it has been released, there will be (I hope) another reader, and another and another. Representation matters. And I get to be the one to do it.