Sunday, September 1, 2013

Feeling Naked and Mike Birbiglia


So, it's been over a week since the e-release of Songs Eight Six. 

It's been over ONE CRAZY week, I should add.

With the print release probably happening in just a few days  scheduled for this week, I can imagine life is going to get a lot crazier.

Crazy is a relative term, or at least that's the defense I'm going to use when I am being committed for the insanity that this whole dream of mine is bound to cause me. Some crazy is bad. This crazy, I'm pretty sure, is good. (<---That's going to be my closing argument. And then I'll wink at the judge for good measure.)

People have been asking me how it feels to have the book "out there" finally after keeping it so close for so long. I've answered this a dozen diferent ways, all to varying degrees of honesty, but I think that the most precise word that I could use to describe all-encompassingly what it feels like to release a novel into the world of lovers and h8ters (writing it that way always makes me think of Avril's "Sk8ter Boi",and I smile) is this one:

NAKED.

Naked, like crazy, can have many connotations, so I'll be more descript.

I feel soul-naked.

In degrees of metaphorical nudity, I think I would rank this kind--the one I've been feeling all week--as the most scary kind of naked.

Over the course of the last two years, I've often referred to the writing process of this novel as a gestation period. Almost daily, I would imagine myself a fat, round preggo with feet in stirrups birthing this massive book. (And now you're imagining it. Sorry about that.) I definitely felt the labor pains throughout the process of penning chapters one-100, and like with my two real, non-book, human children--I love the little creature that I birthed.

But, unlike with my human children, I have publically exposed this little creation to THE ENTIRE WORLD (or the small percentage of the world with access to a Kindle or Nook) and am now awaiting its approval and disapproval.

Both I will get. Neither am I ready for.

When my children were newborns, they both looked like aliens. I'm just being real. They don't look like aliens now, unless we're talking about the cute kind of alien, and then... maybe. But, no one told me this. No one comes to the hospital and tells a mother that her child looks like some creature from a distant planet. Even if it's true. There are social rules against it.

That will not be the case with this book-child. And though it isn't a flesh-and-blood baby, I'm still its mother, and I'm sure it's still going to hurt when I feel it's being mistreated and judged unfairly.

That's all part of parenthood though, right? The bad with the good.

But still. It's an uncomfortable naked.

However, when I think about the people in this world I admire most, the list is comprised of many people who I feel I've seen in this exposed way. Guard down. Cards on the table.

Since you don't know many of the people on this list, or maybe you do because as one of the six people who read my blog, I probably am an admirer of all of you, I'll use an example from the public sector--a celebrity.

I'll use, Mike Birbiglia.

For real, he's famous. Google him.

Anyway, I've been a long time fan of Birbigs' comedy and storytelling. Some of his bits I've heard dozens of times, and he has this way of always captivating me with his delivery and punchline no matter how familiar his story has become.

I've heard him tell the tale of throwing up on the Scrambler close to twenty times if we're counting movies, stand-up radio, television, his biography Sleepwalk with Me, and LIVE at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. And I still laugh. Every time.

I recently watched his latest stand-up special, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, and as he began the Scrambler-vomit story for what was, to me, the 21st time, I found myself smiling. I knew what was coming, and I couldn't wait to hear it.

Why? Because I know him. We're friends. And friends listen to one another tell the same story over and over again. And they reminicse and laugh about it together.

Or, at least he has me convinced we're friends. Because that's what a good storyteller does--they connect with you. They make you feel like YOU are the one they are talking to, that their story is for YOU.

And they do that by being naked.

I've seen Mike Birbiglia naked, and that's why I laugh at him.

Wait... I'm not sure that came out right. But you know what I mean?

My novel is a fictional one, but there is so much nudity in it. Soul-nudity. Me exposing who I am, my fears and insecurities, my hopes and my imagination...

And I wrote it because I do want to connect with you.

YOU.

Because, as aforementioned...

I'm crazy.

So, when this next week passes and a larger percentage of the world has seen me naked, I hope to do what good ol' Birbigs does. I'll take the applause and the boos with their respective grains of salt and keep chugging away at book two.

Because I am a story-teller. And there's no better way to tell a story than by being naked in it.




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