I spent the first half of today doing my regular Saturday routine: I woke around 8, made a quick smoothie for the road, and hopped into the car. Listening to NPR’s Car Talk, I drove to take Mona swimming at our favorite park. It was early and overcast enough that the dog park was still nearly empty. It was peaceful, and quiet, and the chilly waters of Lake Washington lapped at the pebbled shore—the only other sound Mona’s splashing into the shallows. Afterward, I cleaned my house, did the laundry, watered the plants.
But the way I plan to spend the second half of my Saturday is about as far from the regular routine as possible: I’m heading downtown, all gussied up in a new dress, to visit my books at their new home on the shelves of the local bookstore. I don’t know if this is something other writers do, but I’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks, months, and years. Yes, I plan to ask someone to take my picture with the books, and yes I also plan to sneak a few copies onto the “New and Noteworthy” table. It might not sound too daring, but these are the Saturday evening plans of the happiest little writer on the planet.
Though A Real Emotional Girl hits bookstores today (the official publication date), hundreds of friends, family members, and strangers have already had copies for a few weeks. And the response has been more incredible than I could ever have hoped. The validation I’ve gained from receiving positive reviews from industry giants like Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly truly does put to rest any lingering self-doubts about my skill as a writer, and has given me a surge of confidence and motivation to plow ahead on my next project. But none of that compares to the warm, supportive response of the most important audience—the people who knew and loved my father.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve received a deluge of cards, phone calls, and emails from so many long-lost loved ones, expressing their profound appreciation for my book. I’ll admit that, at times, this deluge can be a bit overwhelming, but more in a my-cup-overfloweth than a this-really stresses-me-out kind of way. These last ten years, I’ve shouldered an incredible burden long enough and steadily enough to create a memoir that pays proper tribute to both the father I loved so much, and the devastating pain of losing him. Knowing that the struggle of that burden has brought comfort, healing, and closure to even one person who loved my father makes it all completely worthwhile. And even better, having the chance to reconnect in such a meaningful way to so many old friends and camp sisters has been absolutely delightful.
None of this success and happiness lessens the pain of missing Dad, but knowing that so many other people miss him, too, certainly does make me feel like I’m in good company. The very best company. To all of you who have read the book and reached out to me, please accept my most gracious thanks. Each of you—each and every single one of you—has my love.