Release day for an author is like kids leaving for college for parents
I was completely exhausted last night, and by seven thirty pm, I was fast asleep, compliments of a tiny little pill. I don’t know what had gotten me so tired, a combination maybe of nerves (yes, I was quite nervous), a bug that’s been plaguing the rest of the family or a particularly busy day. I don’t know.
So I missed midnight. I missed Willem leaving the house and going out to fend for himself, and I feel just a little bit like that awful parent who won’t drive their kid to the dorm, to make sure they make it there in one piece, get settled in, cry a bit. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie…
Willem is gone, and he’s left me feel empty.
I had a short chat with my publisher yesterday, and it’s symptomatic for those hours before you’re done:
Me: Ready for tomorrow..? smile emoticon
Deb: Hi. And yes? I think…
Me: You’re not convinced..? smile emoticon
Dear Willem!I remember exactly the day you came to me. I remember the anger I had felt at people’s reaction to my desire to write about a black hero. For days I hadn’t written when I sat down that morning and you stood there, pale, skinny, tall in your coverall, googles and gloves, a gangly youth tending lovingly to your oranjes.Authors aren’t supposed to do that, but I fell in love with you, that very moment. I felt like a pervert when I watched you take off your clothes to enjoy the artificial sunlight deep inside the Tafel. You were completely innocent, there wasn’t anything bad about you. Nothing. You were pure innocence. When Bongani found you, and after the accident I was afraid. I was afraid about what Mavuto would do to you. He hated you so much…I held my breath when you were pushed out of the gates, afraid as much as you that you’d not survive. What would you find out there? It’s been such a privilege to follow you. There are a few episodes in your life that will forever stay with me, that first meeting with Hery in the ruins of Cape Town, tasting mofo gasy for the first time, the shock in Stéphane and Magda’s house when you realize that you’ve just mated Hery, that still makes me crack up…But my all time favorite moment is your reunion with Hery. It still makes me cry. It’s been a long while since I watched you sail into the sunset, and it’s been difficult for me. Not knowing how you’re doing, not knowing where you are. That really is the most difficult part of letting go, that uncertainty, but just as parents must let go of their grown up kids, so must I let go of my Willem. And you are, after all, Willem of the Tafel, you are Madiba to the people of Cape Town. You are better equipped than anyone I’ve met to be successful! I’ll celebrate you by writing a little today. Hopefully it will get me to think about something else.May the winds favor you, always!Love,Hans
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Have a happy hump day!