With Grandson of a Ghost about a month away from being published, I'm finding it interesting to reflect upon and examine who I've dared to share the manuscript with. Eight people. They are the only ones who have read it and now know the subject matter — and by extension — now know me. As I wrote in my previous blog post, sharing this book is an intimidating and scary prospect.
1. Ken (character from chapters 8, 9). My therapist has been my emotional partner in this project from the beginning. We reviewed every chapter individually as each was completed. In session, we discussed how I felt while writing, and the significance of the new segment for me, including insights that may have been gained.
2. Francisco (character from chapters 7, 8, 9). Two months after reading the first draft of the novel, my partner of sixteen-years asked me to marry him. It was a much stronger and dramatic reaction than I could have ever imagined. I said yes.
3. Lourdes (character from chapters 5, 6). A long-term friend and the only one from the outside I felt certain could be trusted with the material without judging me. I also respected her opinion as an artist, and welcomed the book as a way for us to reconnect on a meaningful level.
4. Marcos (a friend). An avid reader and confidant, I felt more confident — a month after showing Lourdes — to share with him.
I worked on revisions for a few more months with the help of a talented editor. Then I felt ready to send out a few more PDFs, after first testing each potential recipient with a link to this website. If they were still game for the PDF, I would send it.
5. Josh (character from chapter 4). After all these years, I felt I owed him an explanation for my behavior toward him in college. I am happy to have the opportunity to reconnect.
6. Eddie (unnamed NYU classmate from chapter 5). Another friend from my distant past so I feel less afraid of being judged. A very creative guy whose opinion I value.
7. Helen (a long-term friend with a Masters in Social Work). I trusted she could handle the subject matter. She said I'd always seemed happy-go-lucky. I told her that was my go-to persona while I hid myself. The book is now the reason we've reconnected to renew our friendship.
8. Ninja Warrior (character from chapter 9). I wanted to share the book with one of my sex partners from my wildest (lowest) period. He finished the book in a week, and has since shared that he also was abused by his mother. He suffers from depression and has not tried therapy. Perhaps the book will help guide him toward that decision.
I am hoping to find the courage to share the book with more of my friends. Perhaps in time I will dare. Support and encouragement from my First Eight feels really good.