My book is coming out in four months. So far, I’ve been pretty good at dealing with the stress. People ask me what’s going on with RED, and I cheerfully tell them, “It’s all done and ready to go to print! Now all I have left to do is publicity, and my publicist has things totally under control!” It’s too early for any important reviews to appear. So I’m basically just sitting here in the sweet spot where people are excited about my book, but most people don’t know enough about it to bash it. That makes for a nice serene headspace.
During the day, that is.
And then I go to sleep, and my brain is like, “HAHAHAHAHA, serenity?? That’s hilarious. Here are some anxiety dreams!”
I have to give my brain credit—it is very inventive with its anxiety. I never have the standard naked-in-public dream, or the one where all my teeth fall out, or the one where someone’s chasing me and I can’t run. Instead, these are the dreams I’ve had lately that have sent me into a tailspin of panic:
1) My book comes out, and I go visit it in the bookstore. Instead of the cover I was promised, I find that the entire jacket is covered in blue faux fur, like a muppet, or THE MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS. (I guess that was real live fur, though.) Across the entire back cover is a portrait of me wearing sunglasses, also made of fur. When I try to open the book, I find that the pages are uncut and require me to use a paper knife, like books from hundreds of years ago. “Oh my god,” I lament. “Teens are SO LAZY. There’s no WAY anyone is going to put in the effort it takes to read this book!” (Strangely enough, one of my best friends also had a dream that my cover ended up being blue, and he ran around asking everyone, “WHY IS RED BLUE??? WHYYY?”)
2) I am terrified of public speaking, and I was very nervous to tell my publicist this for fear she would hate me. So right before I had my first call with her, I dreamed I had to perform “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion to a packed theater while accompanying myself on the piano. I was not allowed any rehearsal time. I was pretty good at the piano when I was 16, but I am definitely not now, and I threw a huge diva fit until the organizers of the event let me have an hour alone at the piano. Then they unleashed a large group of children onto the stage, who ran around distracting me as I tried to figure out the song by ear. So naturally, I developed a spontaneous Canadian accent and started chasing them around yelling, “GET OOOOOOUT! GET OOOOOUT!”
3) A box of books arrives at my apartment just before release day, and I happily rip it open. Inside are a bunch of finished books—but everything about them is wrong. The trim size is small and square, like those gift books with pictures of cats that they put near the register at B&N. The cover is pink and features a blond girl holding a motorcycle helmet. Behind her is another girl wearing a pink baseball shirt that says “RED” in curly script across the chest. When I open the book, my text is interspersed with lines and lines of those random junk symbols you get when Microsoft Word can’t read a file. And at the end is an extremely lengthy novella… written by someone else.
4) Because of the success of my book, I am recruited to work for an advertising firm and come up with a slogan for a new airline. The moment I woke up, I wrote down the little gem I’d come up with, thinking it must be brilliant and usable in some way. When I looked at it later, it said, “EVOLUTION STOPS FOR NO ONE. DON’T LET IT STOP YOU.” Which is almost as good as the time I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I’d come up with the most ingenious metaphor in the world, which turned out to be, “He had a voice that wore mirrored sunglasses.”
5) I receive a call from my publisher saying that my contract will be canceled unless I make my protagonist into a talking mouse.
Thanks a lot, brain.
Did I ever tell you about the time I dreamed that my book was going to be edited down to 10 words or less and printed on bars of soap? I WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.
Lindsay Ribar says
The mirrored-sunglasses line is actually kind of awesome…???