My wife had the launch for her new book last weekend at McNally-Robinson Booksellers here in Winnipeg*. This was almost certainly more fun for me than it was for her, because she had to do the reading and the signing and things while I didn’t have to do anything but listen and eat and drink by the light of her stellafication, but it was the first launch either of us has had for a few years and — partly because our kids were there — it reminded me of one of the first questions I ever got asked when I did a school reading, which was, what does it feel like to publish a book?
And we didn’t have any yet, but I said it must be something like having a child**. Then when the kids began to arrive, among all the very big things to be happy about, a little small one was realizing that — once again! — I had been clever and right. And maybe I can make that clearer with a literary reference, in this case to Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire***
I don’t have all the details exactly right here because I only read IWTV once, and that was thirty years ago and I had only borrowed the book****, but there’s this bit where a younger, more innocent Vampire asks an older one what making love had been like back in the days when she (or he, I can’t remember) still had, you know, their own warm blood. And the older vampire explains (and I’m pretty sure this is exactly right; you can look it up though I can’t):
It was like the pale shadow of killing
Italics mine, not that AR would be embarassed to hit Command-I hard. But let’s admit it, the pale shadow of killing isn’t bad whether you want to praise Anne Rice for the power she preserved or damn her for the cheese she enmoulded.
But if you haven’t produced a book but have had a baby, or vice versa, I’d explain the other by saying a book launch is like the pale shadow of childbirth. And if you’ve had books and children I’d say aren’t you lucky, because we sure are, especially me when my next book isn’t quite done but I don’t have to wait for my wife’s and it’s pretty good, you should take a look:
* you can read her post about it here. ** I may not have been the first person to make this comparison, but still. *** which was not a bad book and which was historically important since IWAV stands as the very corner before which Vampires held mythic power and terrible religious significance or at least could be PRETTY DAMNED SCAREY and after which was the big Vampireland theme park opening up inside AdventureWorld — right between Pirate’s Coveland and Wild Wild Westland. Also Tom Cruise. **** which I hate doing because of moments like this where I know just how far along and just where on the page this was but I still don’t have the book so IT’S LIKE ONE OF MY BRAIN CELLS HAS GONE MISSING