Words that will never be written about me in the New York Times: Ms. Williams’ debut novel is an astonishing tour de force.
Every once in awhile, someone suggests I pursue an agent and a traditional publishing deal. There’s part of me that longs for acclaim, that aches for that line in the NYT book review, breathless articles about the fairy godmother tale of my discovery. Bidibidobidiboo. (Spell check knows the word, which is a fun surprise.)
But everything costs something. And fame and fortune are no exception. Of course, I’d love to sell more books. I’d be okay with not having to go to work, at least in theory. I’d be ecstatic if I had the money hanging around to buy a streamlined insert for the gas fireplace. But I’m okay doing my own gardening (you should see the size of the wild grape roots I ripped out last night. Like wrestling with a 6-foot black snake with tentacles.) I’m good with the limits my life gives me. Okay, so I could have stayed in bed another hour this morning, but isn’t discomfort what gives pleasure meaning? If I could wake up whenever I wanted, what joy would there be in sleeping in on Sunday?
(Random curiosity: what does Kim Kardashian dream of?)
My vote for the grand unifying theory of everything is that the Universe demands balance. Whatever is given to you comes with a cost. I don’t fly all that high, all things considered. This month’s excitement was getting a new sink and faucet in the kitchen. Next month, there will be an overnight train trip with a sleeper car. But the lows aren’t that low either. I know who my people are. I don’t worry that my friends are only there for the access, for the drugs and the swag bags and the view and the piles of cash laying around. The love in my life comes with expectations: reciprocity, loyalty, consideration, mutual assistance, honesty… but the expectations aren’t monetary. No one is walking away from me because I can’t pay their car note. No one is disappointed because I’m not making it rain.
Too often the cost of material gain is in the quality of your relationships, and if that’s the choice– love for money–I’m sticking with love. So the NYT hasn’t noticed me. I’m not an astonishing tour de force. I’m a slow writer with an infestation of wild grape and a crazy dog and a family that is both crazy-making and indispensable, and love deep enough to swim in like friggin’ Scrooge McDuck. I think I can make my peace with that.