For the past week, I’ve been pursuing a campaign of violence against the mosquitoes in my writing studio. It hasn’t been a terribly buggy summer yet (maybe because the winter was hot and dry? Is it possible there’s at least one benefit to a hot winter? That if we all die on a burning sun-ball of fire and noxious gas the positive side effect will be that the mosquitoes, with their minuscule and non-flame-retardant bodies, will surely perish first? I digress), but they kept floating by while I was writing, and finally I brought out our bug zapping racquet and started the hunt.
Initially I was worried that the mosquitoes had somehow nested in the studio drains, since I really haven’t seen them anywhere else. But after a bathroom quarantine and a lot of systematic insect murder, I’ve concluded that the problem was more discrete and manageable: I had been leaving the door open in the morning to enjoy the breeze.
Why am I telling you this? My book comes out in less than a week! Shouldn’t I instead be focused on asking you to pre-order it, to come to my readings? Well, yes. Invitation to a Bonfire is an Indie Next Pick; Kristin Iverson at Nylon called it “one of the most brilliant books I’ve read in some time” (!!!) and it’s been celebrated as a Best Book of the Summer by places like Elle and Bustle and Parade and the Chicago Tribune.
I guess I’m talking about mosquitoes because they seemed like a huge, systemic problem with my house, and they were not. When you have a book coming out, there’s a lot to stress over, and every small thing that goes wrong—or even that you imagine to go wrong—can feel like the J-J-J-Jenga brick that’s going to bring your career tumbling down. But it doesn’t. The picture is much bigger than it seems from second to second, and no one really sees the stressful parts but you. When someone visits and they swat a mosquito in my house, they don’t assume that my house is falling down.
So yes, you have just experienced the pep talk that I am giving myself every hour. My house is in order. Yesterday I dropped my grilled cheese sandwich on the ground, and it made me cry, but I had ice cream and strawberries for lunch instead, so isn’t the world marvelous?
Isn’t it marvelous that we can choose to do things, that we can feel inspiration, and then give that inspiration back to the world? Isn’t it wild that I was a baby once, and I wanted to make books, and now I have, and I will continue to do so for all of my days?
Isn’t it the fucking best?