I sat in the audience at Powell’s on Sept. 12 when my mentor Joanna Rose presented my other mentor, Stevan Allred, with a ream of blank printer paper with a bow on it. She explained the significance. When a member of their critique group finishes a big project, they are gifted paper to get going on the next project. With my small press publishing Stevan’s debut book, A Simplified Map of the Real World, he received paper to get moving on the next thing.
And then, at the after party, I was given paper, too. My own pristine stack, packaged with a bow, and given with a hug. Because this summer, I finished a draft of Lost Notes, my fanciful nineteenth century novel.
This whole press thing began because of me being a novelist. (You can read more here about how it all happened.)
I’ve been writing seriously since 1998, novel after novel, and a jazz band biography hiding in there too, and I’ve had and lost a top-notch agent, and I’ve kept writing, kept dreaming about a launch party someday. And there I was, at Stevan’s book party, there as his publisher, as his former student, and I was given a gift. A reminder. That paper.
That weekend, I put the press aside and began forging through my latest draft again, reading and editing, getting familiarized again. And within a week, Christi Krug, of Wildfire Writing fame, emailed to ask if I’d read from my novel at one of her Wildfire Wednesdays as a Key Player. In Christi’s words, “These are featured readers from the greater Portland community who are working on many creative levels in literary arts.”
She has been getting some really big regional names, published authors, and I feel really honored to be asked to help kick off the fall season. For those of you in the Portland, Oregon, area, the event starts at 6:10 on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Cascade Park Community Library in Vancouver, Washington. I’ll be reading two pieces from my novel, to begin the evening and to end it. What an honor. And what a reminder.
I’m a novelist, too. Not just a publisher.
When I went to print out my pages, so I can practice my pieces for Wednesday, my paper ran out. I reached for the ream I had been using, and it was all gone. It seemed like a perfect time to carefully work the new ream open, its bow still attached.
Now if only the paper’s promise, “99.99 percent jam free,” holds true for the writing.