That Book That I Wrote
I sat down to write my very first book when I was seven years old.
I’m sure it was excellent – I distantly remember it being an unrepentant rip-off of the Midnight for Charlie Bone series, and it starring thinly-veiled (read: not veiled at all) versions of the friends I had in school at the time. I drew a lot of illustrations. I took it very seriously.
I’ve written about writing quite a lot before now, but that’s not going to stop me including it in my positivity week. Because one of the most positive things that’s ever happened to me – and yes, I see the irony – has come in the form of a book called Rape Jokes.
Long story short: my first full-length novel, titled Rape Jokes, came out earlier this year. When I first got the news that this was actually going to happen, I thought I was going to die of happiness. Swiftly, of course, the mammoth self-doubt started to sneak in. My wonderful publishers (shout out to Frayed Edge Press – they were helpful, supportive, and all-round brilliant for the entire process, and I can’t recommend them enough, as both a reader and a writer) began the editing process, and I was somewhat convinced that they were going to figure out that I was a terrible writer and quietly pretend none of this had ever happened.
And that self-doubt and fear led right up to the release of the book. Which doesn’t sound very positive, I know, but bear with me here. The last time I wrote about Rape Jokes, it was just before it came out, and, while I was unbelievably excited, I was still fucking nervous. It’s one thing to call yourself a writer, quite another to have a book out there that people can actually read, right? And judge you on?
But in the time that’s passed since the release, I haven’t been able to stop smiling when I think about this book. The first time I held an actual copy in my actual hands, I cried a little bit. All this time, all this work, pretty much twenty years of telling myself I was going to do this one day, and I’d done it. I’m not done writing – I don’t think I ever will be, so expect more Guignol into ad finitum – but getting this book out into the world has been one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.
And not just because of the lovely reviews, or the friends who’ve told me they loved it. But because this has been my dream for basically my entire life. I was worried that when the book came out, I would just feel like I had topped out in what I wanted to do – but all it’s led me to is wanting more. I want to put so much out there into the world. Rape Jokes just felt like the start for me – a start that I’m so grateful to have, and so grateful for the support I’ve recieved surrounding, but a start. And that feeling – the feeling of possibility, of what lies ahead for me and my writing and the people who seems to like it – is about the most positive thing I can think of in my life right now.