Oh, Happy Day

Oh, Happy Day

What were you doing at 10:08 this morning? Were you forced to cover your ears due to a sudden, ear-piercing shriek of pure joy? Sorry bout that.

My book’s galleys arrived at 10:07, and as soon as I signed and handed back the stylus I ripped open the package, still on my front stoop, and made Wayne (our UPS guy) wait until I pulled out a copy to show him. He was telling me about the extended vacation he’d just taken, and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t hear a word of it once I saw the return address on the package. Sorry bout that, Wayne.

I’m not sure I can adequately describe what it’s like to hold a book you wrote in your hands for the first time—even in galley form. (A galley is the preliminary version of the book, printed on inexpensive paper and including all the typos from the uncopyedited manuscript. It’s what gets sent to reviewers.) Since childhood, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Except for a brief second-grade flirtation with becoming a teacher, that goal never changed. When you’re young, you think it will be easy—after I won the fiction prize at my college graduation, I thought for sure I’d be in The New Yorker the next year, with my first novel published before I was 30. Yeah, not so much. Instead I worked in book marketing for 15 years, realized my real passion was for combining food and words, and spent the last 9 as a freelance food writer. During that time I married, divorced, waited 7 more years for the right husband to find me, eventually had a kid. All of that, all of it, led me to here. The day when I hold a galley of my own book.

It feels a lot like holding Harry for the first time. The same mix of holy crap, I did this?! and unmitigated, heart-busting euphoria. The only difference? Instead of attempting to nurse and attempting to sleep, immediately after the book arrived I did a little happy dance, raced to the backyard to snap some pictures, and then ate a Ritz Cracker Cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar. Niiice way to celebrate.

Things are going to start ramping up in a big way on the book front. It’s on sale four months from tomorrow! Four months may seem like a long time, but after all these years it’s going to pass in the blink of an eye. Next week marks the beginning of the pre-pub marketing, which also dovetails nicely with Words to Eat By’s seventh blogaversary. Exciting things will be happening here, starting Tuesday, including a whole new look for the site and a chance to win one of the galleys you see pictured here.

Watch this space.