One of my first apartments after leaving home had a nasty-cold floor in the bathroom. Winter was coming, so I bought a carpet remnant and cut it to fit around the sink and toilet, and tacked it down. It was a huge improvement.
“How did you know how to do that?” My roomie was thrilled. I didn’t exactly know the answer. It seemed kind of obvious to me but at the same time, it was hard to verbalize.
I recently spent some time on my childhood farm in Minnesota. In the process of writing my memoir, I got to return there–in my imagination. Decades later that failed farm was still beautiful; my first horses were still in the pasture. To tell the truth, I’ve never been far away.
I remembered driving a tractor during haying season when I was hardly old enough for school. Someone clutched the tractor into gear and I’d perch on the seat and steer as it rolled along. When we needed to stop, I had to slide my bottom off the seat and dangle from the steering wheel to push the brake. I’d like to say my parents believed I could do anything I set my mind to–but it wasn’t that inspirational. Like most farmers, we just couldn’t afford to hire a hand.
It was a hard life; I can’t romanticize it even now. Everything on a poor farm is homemade. As I got older, I designed my prom dress–very unique but homemade. You know the curse-of-death that term has coming out of a teenager’s mouth, right? I seriously lacked any veneer of sophistication, then as now, but I did have the practical awareness that you just did the work, because it wouldn’t get done otherwise.
So sure, I can install carpet. I can replace a window and build fence. And now, this: one step after another, I wrote this story that everyone seems to love, but no one wants to take a risk on. One editor even mentioned a possible movie deal but it’s crazy. There’s this one big hitch: no one can read it because it’s tucked away in my computer. So there you go–a job that needs doing.
This is week 2 of self-publishing. I hired a book designer in the UK whose cover art and interiors are really a cut above. I sent over my ideas and she’ll start to work this week. I’ll let you see what she comes up with.
In the meantime, I’m spending hours reading online about marketing and distribution, checking out reviews of printing companies, and getting online-savvy about virtual book tours.
I notice my agility with a post-hole-digger is no help at all with any of this, but at least I’m over that teenage notion that homemade things are dorky or inferior. Soon enough, Stable Relation will be for sale on Amazon, aspiring to look as sophisticated as a Vera Wang gown…with a few stray horse hairs and some traces of dog spit.
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