Happy Halloween to My Six-Month Old Baby
The six months since The Moon Always Rising came into the world may have been the weirdest six months of my life. Maybe that’s true for you too.
If you share my feelings of dismay, I hope you don’t believe it’s somehow your fault or failure. I hope you have people with whom you can share your true thoughts and feelings. I hope you’ve been able to find comfort, oases of tranquility, ways to connect, and ways to stay sane.
How are you doing, really? Let me know if you like. Leave a note on my CONTACT page or email me at email@example.com. I welcome and respond to every message.
The arrival of Halloween only underscores for me how the pandemic has shaken loose some of my personal demons. Even with plenty of affirmation and good news, I hit a writing and promotion wall during the summer. The cheeriness and humble-bragging so prevalent in Facebook and Twitter posts can stop me in my tracks. When my life is far from perfect, as it has been lately, I find it especially hard to “share.” I go quiet. Though you’ve been very much on my mind, I’ve been unable to blog as often as I promised.
Yes, we need books, maybe as never before. Yes, MOON can transport readers out of turmoil and into an enveloping alternative. But, I couldn’t make myself post anything that smacked of “buy my book.” On broader topics, I thought nobody needed to hear whatever I (a privileged, white, senior woman) might have to say. Let more relevant voices speak, I thought.
A cop-out, you say? You may be right. The demon-induced paralysis was real, nonetheless.
So, FINALLY, before yet another full moon rises and sets, here’s a much-belated update on MOON’s launch and early days in flight. What a ride it’s been!
Awards. In her first few months, MOON invigorated me by garnering three Finalist designations, then Winner in Women’s Fiction (National Indie Excellence Awards) and Winner in Cross-Genre (American Fiction Awards) for her blending of literary, women’s lit, romance, mystery, and paranormal elements. On the days when I feel like a literary impostor (Still! That’s one of my worst demons), I’m encouraged by this recognition.
Appearances. Even though COVID trashed my book tour and hopes of meeting you in person, I’ve had great fun participating in virtual events sponsored by bookstores and libraries, often sharing the small screen with other authors. If you attended, thanks so much for your interest and support. I’ve also enjoyed lively chats with literary podcasters from California to Mississippi to Chicago. Some of my answers to their questions surprised me. See the MEDIA page for recordings of these appearances and conversations.
Book Groups. The most fun of all has been joining book groups, in person locally and virtually elsewhere. Now that cool weather will end distanced gatherings in lovely gardens (thanks again to all the book group hosts), I look forward to brightening the winter with virtual book group discussions all over the country. If your group or one sponsored by your local library or bookstore would be interested, please let me know. I’ve recently joined Novel Network, a free service to book groups that helps them discover authors and schedule appearances. Check it out!
Sales. I’m frequently asked how MOON is selling. The honest answer is: damned if I know. Reporting is slow and incomplete. I do know that MOON is starting to reach her readers. My thanks to you and your friends and contacts for making this happen. Pssst, please continue to pass the word along.
Reviews. Reader reviews are trickling in. Huge thanks to all of you who have made the effort to post. I’m elbowing aside one of my other demons (begging for anything) to ask all of you who’ve read MOON but haven’t yet reviewed her to consider posting a short, honest assessment on Amazon and/or Goodreads or your online review space of choice.
Fame. Here on Martha’s Vineyard, I’m hardly a local celebrity, but I recently crossed one threshold: recognition from a stranger. When I checked in at MV Hospital for a routine blood draw, the phlebotomist peered at me and said, “Alice Early, the author?” As she expertly extracted her sample, she told me she was enjoying MOON and would pass her copy along to a friend as soon as she finished. Maybe that’s my allotted 15 minutes of fame. It made my whole day. Maybe my whole week.
Still, it's been tough at times.
Just as I thought I might emerge from my summer of stupefaction, my internet failed for three weeks in September forcing me to impose on friends and neighbors with signals for the simplest communication, not to mention attending my own virtual events. I got a dose of being shut out of 21st century discourse, learning, and entertainment. My empathy for those without adequate computers or signals rose exponentially. Along with so many other necessities, if our communication infrastructure remains as unequally distributed as it is now, we’ll all lose, big time, in the future.
While my internet was down, my older brother died of complications of Parkinson’s. Losing a beloved sibling dumped me into the kind of grief thousands of people around the world are suffering. I realize daily how difficult it is to mourn when the rituals we depend on are largely unavailable. When we can’t gather and share stories of the departed to help insure they aren’t forgotten. When we can’t find comfort in human touch. Those of you who know I’m an inveterate hugger can imagine how straitjacketed I feel. Giving and receiving solace is an arm’s length away but unreachable. It’s been a heart-rending and sobering experience, made all the more so by my knowledge that there are millions of me out there with unbearable accumulations of losses—loved ones, cherished pets, jobs, homes, businesses, dreams. I ache for them all. If that includes you, I am deeply sorry.
I’m left wondering about our collective capacity for compassion. Are we too wrung out by the enormity of the statistics to care enough for each other? Even as I hope the suffering will abate, I also hope all of us can double down on empathy and kindness in the days and years to come.
I’m hitting SEND now, forcing myself to break my silence spiral.
Enjoy Halloween's full Blue Moon. If your demons are on the loose, too, and not in a playful way, I repeat, how are you doing, really? I’m listening.