Lessons Learned From Writing a Book

I’ve started working on my next book of poetry.
I loved how I felt when I was working on as simple as that. 

Driven,
focused,
relaxed,
happy,
passionate,
excited
creative
juiced

Yum

I imagined that once it was published I’d sell lots and lots and lots of copies.

“Honey, I wish more people read poetry.  They’d buy your book and love it.  Its mesmerizing.” Bill said.  as simple as that cover

I was sitting on the sofa, editing a poem for my blog.  He was standing in the doorway holding my book open in his hands.  I love the cover.  It’s a picture I took with my Blackberry one day when Bill and I had driven to the Esplanade to look at the ocean after a rainstorm  The sky and the ocean were the same color, slate gray; separated only by the sepia setting sun pushing it’s way through a cloud filled sky.   That day, I had no idea I’d use that picture for the cover of my first book.

“Yeah.  Well, I know I’m nuts, I thought I’d sell a few more copies.” I said.  It’s true. As embarrassing as it is to admit, let alone write about here (but I am getting naked after all), I thought more people would buy it.  I sent emails to my community and posted it all over Facebook.  I even changed the signature on my email to read, “Have you purchased your copy of my book yet?” with a link to my blurb bookstore.

My ego toys with me.

I was too attached to selling it. According to the Buddhists, attachment and avoidance are the causes of human suffering.

A gentle lesson.

I  thought that all the people that I support and have supported would support me back.  Did I give to others expecting for something in return?  That’s not the reason to give.  I know that’s not why I gave.  But, I can’t lie, I thought that the people in my ‘community’ would give the way I had.  Have I stopped giving? NO!  I have stopped expecting.  Isn’t expecting something in return the same as being attached?  Expectation. Attachment.

On Friday, I was walking to my car from spin class and a women came up to me.

“Can you spare some money for a cab?  My car broke down and I can’t get a hold of my son to come pick me up.” She said.  She was pretty, with dark hair pulled to the side in a pony tail, black rimmed glasses and a striped shirt.  She was holding her smart phone and her driver’s license in her left hand.

“Oh.” I said. She followed me to my car.  I opened my trunk.  “You don’t have triple A?” I asked.

“My son is a mechanic. I know the whole electrical system is shot.” She said.  “I’ve been calling and calling him to come and pick me up. He’s not answering his phone.”

My purse was in my trunk.  I placed my spinning shoes next to it and grabbed my wallet and opened it.  I had three ones and a twenty.

“This is all I have and I don’t think three dollars will get you very far.” I said.  I handed her the twenty.

“Thank you. Can I give you my contact information so I can pay you back? Here’s my license, take my information. She thrust her hand forward at me and showed me her license.  “I’m really telling the truth. People have been so mean to me. I’ve been asking for help. No one would help me.  Thank you so much. I don’t know how to thank you.” She said. She seemed as if she were going to cry.

“Don’t worry about it.” I said.  I put my wallet back in my purse and took it out of the trunk.  I slammed the trunk shut.  “Good luck with your car.” I said.

“Thank you so much.” She said.

I walked to the driver’s side, opened the door.  “No problem.” I said.  I opened my car door. “Good luck”.  She waved at me and I got in my car.

Over the next two days, two other people came up to me and asked me for money.  They didn’t seem as sincere and I had used the last three dollars  in my wallet to buy Bill an Italian ice.  I keep forgetting to get cash. I don’t know if this woman was ripping me off or not.  All I knew is she needed the money either way.  So I gave it to her.  I left the parking lot that morning with a smile on my face.

I like giving.

A gentle lesson.

I ordered thirty of my books to use for poetry readings and give as gifts.  I’d love to give them all away for free, but that doesn’t feel quite right.   There’s a lesson in that.

Here’s the woo-woo. Are you sitting down?  It’s an energetic thing.  Yup. Energy.  I want to receive.  I want to be paid to write.  You get my drift, yes? I want to receive.  With grace, with joy, with ease. I want to receive.  Yes? Yes! You do get my drift. I know you do. I see you swooshing down the slope.

I was accepted to write for Demand Media.  I’ll get paid for each article I write.  Energy.  I’ll be receiving money for my writing.  Energy.  (I met a writer in dance class.  She’s a screenwriter.  Lucky you.  I said.  I laughed.  I’m a poet, I said.)  Ahhhh, but who knows how the future will unfold.

Meanwhile, I walk by the stack of my books in my office. Sometimes I’ll stop.  Pick up a copy.   This is my book. I say.  I feel its weight in my hands.  Marvel at the shine of the cover, how good I look in the picture on the back.  I’ll read the ISBN number.  I’ll open it and read a poem.

I wrote a book.
I published a book.
I have a book.

It’s gorgeous
It’s good
It’s worth-while
It’s touching
Funny
Silly
Astute
It’s real
It’s true
It’s my book
I wrote it
And at poetry readings
I read from it

I’ve always wanted to stand in front of the room
Open my book to a page marked with a pink post it
This is from my collection of poetry called ‘as simple as that’ I say to the audience
And read a poem from my book

At the last reading I went to, a man came up to me
And asked to buy a copy of my book
And I signed it
And handed it back to him
And he smiled, he said thank you
And I smiled at him
“Thank you” I said