Morning. Gerry Boyle here, and I’m here with a reminder. For me, and maybe the rest of you.
I know I’m supposed to be sort of cool about all this but I have to say that when galleys for PORT CITY BLACK AND WHITE arrived in the mail yesterday I felt that little jump, that skip of the heartbeat that comes when you see your words in print.
I’ve been doing this for 18 years now and PC B&W, out in September, is my 11th book. No small number, but not up there in the ranks for somebody like the late Robert B. Parker, for example. But you’d think that after nearly a dozen books a bit of the thrill would be gone. No way. I picked up the package at the post office, saw the Down East Books label. I tore it open in the car outside and held the galleys up. Flipped through the pages. Read a passage or two or six. Recalled when all of this was just a few scrawled notes on a legal pad. And it wasn’t all that long ago.
Something there is about the printed word. I got that fix daily when I was a newspaper columnist. Now I get it from Colby magazine, where I write stories. I have to wait a bit longer for the bigger bang, the delayed gratification of an actual book.
The other day my wife Mary remarked that I was very fortunate to have made a career of writing (I must have been griping about something). “For a lot of people, to write for a living—that’s just a dream,” she said. It was a good reminder to savor every step along the way.
When you land an agent. When the book is sold. When you see page proofs for the first time . A cover design. Galleys. Your first good review (Negative ones we dismiss). That first carton of books. Pulling them out and seeing your name on the cover. Opening it up and seeing the words you wrote.
This craft can very quickly become a business. There’s the money side of it. The marketing side. The slog of copy editing (OK, it’s a slog to me, maybe not to everybody). But I always tell myself not to become numb to the pure joy of doing this, the absolute privilege that it is. You invent characters out of your head, draw an imagined place on a blank page, tell a story. And once published, the book has a life of its own. Readers. It’s like a kid who’s grown up and out. That’s very cool.
If you’re a published writer, you know what I mean. If you’re still working toward that goal, let this be an incentive, something to encourage you on one of those dark days. Opening that box—it’s a blast.