If writing is an attempt to understand something…

Then a year of indie publishing has been an exercise in figuring out why I went independent in the first place.

It’s a long weekend here in America, Monday’s Labor Day holiday the official end of summer.  My husband words a 9/80 shift, so he has today off, and we went to Los Gatos for breakfast.  Other than getting bananas on my waffle, our orders were the same as on a Sunday, but we didn’t sit along the bench.  Instead we sat in the back, a little more private.  And somehow I got to talking about the writing.

My husband doesn’t read my books, neither do our kids.  But since my husband and I have become grandparents of sorts, I’ve been considering the day when actual descendents mill about; maybe they will read my novels one day.  Between that and reading the Yo La Tengo book, I’ve been inundated by a wave of what exactly am I doing this for?  A year past releasing my first indie novel, I’ve had time and books to ponder this, subconsciously and mulled aloud over a banana waffle.  Today, bless my husband’s heart, I started rambling, and his willing ears seemed to translate what I was saying; I want to publish books that touch people’s hearts.

Now of course that has always been the plan, but never before on such a small, individualistic scale.  I wanted to kiss him, or cry, or just note how entwined I am with this man, who doesn’t read fiction, wouldn’t get near angst with a ten foot pole.  But he knows me, far better than I do myself, or maybe it’s his engineer’s brain, more analytical than mine.  I said a whole lot of this and that and he concisely boiled it down to a few notions; that if I didn’t care about reaching anyone, I wouldn’t publish at all.  But I do care, so some books are released.  This week I realized that what I do publish in the future will be novels I want my grandchildren and their kids to read, if they want.  Something thoughtful, relevant, as I discussed previously.  But not too many books, because I do not want to work so hard.

As we worked on breakfast, he said I should make a list of what I want to convey: I want to touch readers’ hearts, I want to make people think, make them cry, and laugh.  I nodded to all these sentiments, wishing I had a post-it note handy, I love post-it notes.  Today’s title is courtesy of something I read that hit me, so I scribbled it down, and stuck it to the side of my tower.  Then it was lost amidst other post-it notes, but recently I rescued it.

And I still believe it; I write to comprehend this or that.  But putting forth for public consumption said tales requires a different focus.  A year ago it was to circumvent the traditional route of publishing to release most of my novels.  Now it’s far more personal, but I still want some books accessible.  My husband was spot on- if I just wanted to express myself, the writing alone would be enough.  It isn’t, not completely.  I can publish, so I will, but I don’t wish to brand myself, I don’t want to carve out a career.  Musician Kurt Wagner figures in Big Day Coming, his band Lambchop another indie group in Yo La Tengo’s sphere.  Kurt makes a record, tours a little, then returns to his home in Nashville and lays floors.  While I don’t want to lay flooring, I do wish to share my take on this topic or that subject, wrapped in love and tears.  Inadvertently tapping into someone’s soul is my small objective, and I have my husband to thank for getting to the core of what I’m doing and why.

And the grand-basset too.  She’ll never read my books, but that’s all right.  She can chase her tail instead.

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