This is the smartest thing I’ve ever done


I know there are more stressful things on earth than a book coming out.

Engineers at NASA probably experience more stress than I am currently fussing over. And brain surgeons. And soldiers. And I know that I should just suck it up and stop worrying and be happy because I’m going to look back at this later on and wonder what the hell my problem was.

(incidentally, my mother told me the same thing when I was about to give birth to my first child. And while she was right, I have to say that being one day out from the official release of one’s first novel is just about as pleasant as being nine months pregnant in August with no air conditioning. Indeed, having experienced both, I have to say the two states are about identical.)

So I’m happy.

(But oh! The worry!)

And I’m excited.

(But oh! The unknowns! The things that can go wrong! The infinite ways that I could fail, might fail, may have already failed!)

However, these worries are pointless. They are not helping my next book get revised, they are not helping the following two slog their way through their multiple drafts, so I should just stuff it already.

Or, I should go out of town.

Which is exactly what I have done.

Right now, as I’m writing this, as my book leaks into the world, I am on the Gunflint Trail on the Minnesota Arrowhead. Right here: 

Well, it doesn’t look like that anymore. Indeed, the trees that were second-growth scrub at the time this was built (in the wake of the first wave of logging) are now tall and strong and stalwart in their assumption of permanence. The lodge itself is larger too, and looks like this:

There’s something to be said for getting out of town. There’s something to be said for (mostly) disconnecting from the outside world, and letting the world take care of itself. There’s something to be said for spending the afternoon paddling with the kids in a canoe and falling on purpose into the water and getting really sweaty on a long run and a longer hike and eating good food followed by sticky smores and sharing a beer with your husband after the children crash out on the couch.

There’s something to be said for letting your book go. And giving it – fully and completely – to the world. And stopping the worry. And stopping the fussing. And just enjoying being alive.

Tonight, when the sun goes down, I will be here:  

And to all of you, here is my wish: beauty, beauty, and beauty again. I raise my glass, and drink in the world.

2 thoughts on “This is the smartest thing I’ve ever done

  1. I don’t know much about authoring, but I do know a thing or two about managing stress. It looks like you came up with a sensible solution.

    Got the Kindle edition of Jack last night. I’m starting it on the subway this morning. Finger’s crossed.

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