by KATE GORDON
I know you’re terrified. Your heart quickens and your breath stops, every time you even think about it. And that sounds like melodrama, but you know it isn’t.
You should be okay with this now, right?
But this book is different. This book is personal.
This feels like it carries so much weight, of responsibility and of lives, because it is about lives. And it’s about the loss of lives, and those were lives that mattered to you.
This book is different because you want to do right by those people who have left you; memorialise them and honour them. You’ve worked so hard to make sure you have, but what if …
Always what if …
This book is different, too, because it is your first book with this publisher – a publisher you respect enormously and what if nobody likes it and your new, wonderful, publisher regrets taking a chance, on this book and one you?
This book is different, because it took you away, sometimes, in your head and your heart, from your little girl. The first book to really do this since she came into the world.
And was that right? Will it wreck her in some way, the fact that your heart was elsewhere, sometimes? Will this be the thing she remembers – “Sometimes, my mother was too busy …”
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? All the wonderful things in life begin with what if …
And this has been wonderful. Because everything is okay. Everything is more than okay.
Because you are proud of this book. You are proud, beyond measure, of the words inside it. You are in love with its wonderful cover. You are so grateful to your amazing editor and your amazing publisher and the incredible people who work with them, because they have produced something that makes you so happy.
And people like it.
Every day, you are getting messages from people you have reached and people the book has touched. Most of them are saying the book made them cry, which makes you feel mildly guilty, but also that you did something right, because this is a book that’s meant to be sad. Because what happened to those people you loved is something so far beyond sadness you have no way to measure it.
Your favourite bookshop likes it. Their incredible staff have been beyond supportive. You won’t believe this but they actually put up a poster of your book in their shop.
Your friends, from your hometown, have been so supportive, too. They have bought the book and they have expressed to you how much they’ve valued it.
So. That’s a thing that matters.
And your kid still seems to like you.
She wants you to go and talk at her school, because she’s proud of you. So, that’s a thing that matters a lot.
There are still so many what ifs, of course.
What if you get a bad review (you will and you will cope – you’ve coped before)?
What if someone you love is hurt in some way by the book, or accuses you of doing an injustice to the people you were trying to honour? It might happen. It hasn’t happened yet. And if it does happen, you will know you did everything you could to prevent it from happening, and you wrote a story that was true to you.
What if, one day, your kid does say she resents you? She will. She will be a teenager one day and she might hate you, sometimes, but, hopefully, she will then read this book and be proud.
I know you’re terrified, now. But maybe the best things in life are terrifying.
The point is, you’ll be okay.
Kate Gordon grew up in a small town by the sea in Tasmania.
Her latest book, Girl Running, Boy Falling has just been released with Rhiza Edge. It is a story about grief, family, mental health and friendship, set in a small town in Tasmania.
W: Kate Gordon