Where did 2 years go?!
It's been two years since I released my first book, Through the Elephant Ears, with a few unnoticed typos; you know the kind, the ones you find after you send something out into the world. I've since changed the cover and tried to fix the formatting in the e-book version, although it's hard to say if I was successful. I don't know how other authors feel about their work, but there comes a time when I just can't read it anymore! Once though, I contemplated editing the entire book AGAIN, but halfway through the first story I asked myself what on earth was I doing? I think any additional editing would have changed my voice, and really what would be the point in that? Voice is the backbone of any story. So I left it as it is, typos and all. There are times when I am reading a book published in the "traditional way," as opposed to "self-published," (is self-publishing still stigmatized these days?) that I find typos as well and I feel the need to underline them, even though no one will know and no one probably cares.
Was my book successful? Did it make any money you are probably wondering. I am sure you know the answer to that. And I guess this is where one would go into a definition of "success," as in what constitutes success anyway? How does one measure success? For me, my success was finally getting these stories out there. I had started them in 2009, in fact, a couple of the stories even before that, when I was going to Acadia as a mature student. In 2009 I applied and was accepted to the Humber Creative Writing program. When I applied I told myself that if I got the mentor that I really wanted then I would continue with the program. In those days (I'm not even sure if Humber still offers this program) you got to pick three mentors you would like to have and based on your writing style the program administration would decide who you got. I was lucky, I got my first pick, David Adams Richards, whom I absolutely loved. So it's January 2009, my life is completely and utterly shit and I've just arrived home from the hospital from an attempted suicide and Dave Adams Richards, "THE" Dave Adams Richards, was expecting fifteen pages of my writing. When I say these stories saved my life, I mean writing these stories literally saved my life. Writing the first draft was the best, the easiest and the most fun. I got to invent a story for my main character every day. I could get totally lost in a world of fiction seasoned with tidbits of real events and almost forgotten memories. But it is not a memoir, as I have had to explain to some people who know me. It is simply a collection of stories I created around little things I remember from growing up in the seventies and early eighties in Cape Breton.
Originally, the stories where written as a novel, but later a friend said it sounded more like a collection of short stories, so I revised the whole thing. Revised and revised and revised. Edited and edited and edited.That's the thing about editing, there is always a better way to say something, just like there is always someone richer than someone else. At some point however, you just have to put it out there and in 2021, the second year of the pandemic I did just that. I am proud of the book, and people told me they liked it, gave it five stars on a few platforms. I got an email from a person that I went to school with, but didn't know well, who told me he loved the sense of place, that it brought back so many memories of growing up in Louisbourg. And he wasn't the only one who commented on the sense of place, especially if they too grew up in the coastal town. So what I am getting at is that this marks a level of success for me. Like they say, if one person is moved by something you create, then you are successful.
Now it is January of 2023. In the last six months I have moved back to Nova Scotia from three years in Quebec City, and six years in Port Colborne, Ontario, renovated a ninety-year old house (still working on that) got married, went to Madeira and Lisbon for a honeymoon, had Covid, had the flu (which was worse for me than Covid), and celebrated Christmas. I am working on new paintings for a new market, pursuing avenues to sell said paintings (I still have work available in ArtSpace106 in Niagara-on-the-Lake) and am about to begin a new writing challenge that my son Nigel encouraged me to do by paying for the participation fee as a Christmas present. It is just the kick in the ass that I need to get writing again and I look forward to getting started. To say I am rusty is an understatement as you can probably tell from this blog. Most people who read my book said they wanted more, so more is probably what I should do. Don't expect a book anytime soon, I need a bit of time, though maybe not twelve years this time.
If you haven't read, Through the Elephant Ears, I really hope you do. It's an easy read and I hope it invokes a memory or a feeling for anyone who grew up in Cape Breton, or any small town really. I want to thank the Dartmouth Book Exchange for putting out a post about my book (I'm embarrassed to say I haven't even gotten there in person yet with the all-consuming house renovation), Reynolds Pharmasave and Perkins House Museum in Liverpool for stocking my book and anyone who has given me a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I truly appreciate your support.
So cheers to 2023 and all of our new adventures in life, in the arts, and in business!