I’d had my proof copy back from my printer for a week or two but my undecided brain was still trying to decide what I should do with this ‘novel’. Was it too personal to put out there to the greater world? Was it too personal to put out there to the closer world of family and friends. Was I at risk of a defamation suit? Was it good enough?
Even though I had changed all the names and locations in the book, a discerning person close to me would see easily see through that. But an unknown reader wouldn’t care if the book was autobiographical or fiction, so long as it was well-written and the story satisfying. My author friends said I would never be able to please all the readers all the time, especially family and closer friends. I needed to put their ego issues aside and consider who my ultimate audience was. But that was still not clear to me. What was the real reason for writing this book?
I had sent a copy of the book to Emily in April, just before going off to Osaka. I waited for weeks for some sort of reaction from her. But none came. This generated an admixture of disappointment and relief.
I began this blog, Travels with Myself, partly as a healing mechanism for my grief, partly as a page holder for my indecision.
I decided to send copies of my proof book to a number of discerning readers in my network, including my defamation lawyer. I wanted their candid opinion whether this book was worth publishing.
All said it was a good story. All felt it could be improved in one way or another, but I should go ahead, publish it. I knew they were right: it was spare, the character development sparse, the motivation of the characters unclear. But I had not the energy nor the will to revisit it again. I decided Julian Barnes would be my model and spare it would remain. Let the readers decide for themselves what was the story in the story.
The months of the summer of Carmen in Canada rolled by and my obsession with Emily gradually receded, but the decision about releasing the book remained. And still remained through the early days of 2020 while I was extending my life with Carmen in The Philippines. And writing blogs about my various journeys.
Maybe my journey to my new identity was incomplete. Probably it would never be complete. So why postpone publishing my opus? If I had a story to tell it was of no value whatsoever to stay in the vault of my hard drive, or even lulu.com’s servers. It had to be published.
I removed the ‘Private’ control on Lulu.com and made it available to the world through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram and the rest. You can find it for yourself here: Amitié, A Novel.