I live one block away from a fabulous independent bookstore, Bolen Books. How fabulous? It won bookseller of the year in Canada last year. My daughters and I have spent many, many hours in Bolen Books, since it has a wonderful selection of children’s books–aisles and aisles and aisles of them. But here’s the deal: despite the many times I have been there and the loads of money I have spent there, I have yet to work up the courage to tell anyone there that, umm, I have a novel forthcoming and, oh yeah, I live up the street.
Here’s the problem: it just sounds so cheesy. Saying, “I wrote a novel,” even if it is true, sounds like a bad come-on. It honestly makes me cringe.
So I tend not to tell people.
Not just the great independent bookstore down the street, but also acquaintances, colleagues, and certainly, in my other identity as a student-midwife, my clients. (There’s a speculum scene in my novel, but somehow it doesn’t feel appropriate to reference it when conducting paps.)
At the same time, I kind of want it painted across my forehead: I wrote a novel! And it’s being published! This February 5th, and they say –they really promise—that it’ll be in wide distribution, in bookstores near you!
But my forehead’s too small.
Back in September I attended the beautiful birth of a lovely woman who, when we stopped in for a visit at 24 hrs postpartum, was reading a novel as she lounged beside her newborn baby. Aha, I thought, a reader. But I bit my lip: even if I was ready to try out the “I wrote a novel” line, as her student midwife I had a different kind of work to do. A few weeks ago we saw her and her baby for a final clinic visit–here in Canada, midwives care postpartum for women and their babies for 6 weeks before transferring care back to a family physician. We cooed over the baby, we weighed, we measured, we talked shop: contraception, breastfeeding, sleep, playgroups, relationships — the whole cross-section of the new mom/new baby world.
Remember: I kept telling myself, she’s a reader. She’s a reader…
Finally, before she left, I slipped it in. “So, I kind of wrote this novel,” I began.
I got lucky: she was not only a reader, but a writer too.
Mission accomplished. For now.
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