Stumbling Into a Book Launch Party

Grandson of a Ghost launched this week. It feels great to simply have the book out in the world with multiple vendors in multiple formats. As I wrote in an earlier post (The Disconcerting State of Hiding in Public), this book is not "normal" in that I have no plan for an announcement or celebration of the book's release with any of my friends or family. I'm keeping it secret.

But it so happens the graduating class of my MFA program decided to hold an impromptu 5-year reunion Thursday, exactly the day my book went live on Amazon, Kindle, and the Apple Store. I was feeling good about it. Naturally my classmates wanted to know what I was up to, and it felt simply wrong to hide the book from them, especially since we had been through four grueling semesters together, sharing intimate details of our lives in the process. I trust this group.

I started by showing only the cover, which offered a glimpse of the subject matter, but nothing specific. After a few beers, I pulled up the website and shared the book's synopsis, which I imagine came as quite a surprise. I ended up explaining that part of my motivation for starting psychotherapy came as a result of the graduate program, where I discovered my reaction to criticism was much more pronounced and severe than everyone else's reaction.

Towards the end of the evening I choked up — crying briefly, no more than five seconds — because I was suddenly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what for me was a milestone. I had finished a book after two years work, published it, and was now actually sharing the tough subject matter with a group of my peers. All of this was unimaginable not long ago. And quite by chance I was now participating in my own sort of book launch party.

I'm still not sure what they think about my abuse background, but I am glad I trusted my classmates enough to share. The whole point of my work with my therapist has been to come out of hiding, and I did so Thursday night. It was scary. I am still nervous about what they think. But I feel it was the right thing to do.