New site, new dates
Long time, no talk.
I meant to have this site up and running long before the book even came out. Surprise: that didn't happen. Life goes like that when you are half-construction beast, buffeted by the weather at every turn, and half-writer, dazed and confused by procedures and contracts, as well as buried in new work you didn't expect, and always at just the time when you haven't got a second to spare!
Book Tour, Round One, was a truly magical time--far better than I ever could have imagined. Friends rallied round me. Kind strangers approached. I graced the stage in a sold-out tent at Hay Festival where I expected only about six friends to be, and I even wound up on the BBC before it was all over with and I finally slipped back into construction clothes on the western side of the Atlantic. It was a weird time, but one I won't forget. Most of May was made up of friends, family, hot tubs, Champagne, stars, and stacks of books, which was glorious. It was like walking through a dream after such a long, difficult winter... A healing moment on the tail-end of sad, shocking, difficult time, much of which was unfortunately tied to people who fill the book.
Memoir will change your life in ways you do expect, but in plenty of ways you don't. It has not been an easy road. Meltdowns, legal reviews, violent excommunications, slander, and that's just the stuff I can tell you about. Suffice it to say, while many friends and acquaintances were thrilled to be part of the story, at least three people no longer speak to me... Three I loved with my whole heart. I did everything I could--in life and work--to keep those relationships strong. They were truly life-changing when they came and when they went. The lesson? No matter what you do, sometimes you can't succeed, and people you thought you knew intimately will become people you could never have imagined.
Perhaps that's how they feel about me, too.
I worried in May before events kicked off not about how I'd be reviewed, for I knew I'd written a pretty good book no matter what anyone else had to say about it, but about what to say on stage... Whether to tell the truth about the present, or simply to focus on the things interviewers and audience members asked me. (I chose the latter, for everything in the book is true to the time period in which it took place, and what happened after perhaps has no place in that discussion or this one. I remain on the fence, but always prefer the truth, however ugly and complex it might be...) Luckily, though, May passed smoothly. Enjoyably, even.
I'm more hopeful than ever about all that the future holds, but I can't help acknowledging how much has changed, how much loss has come with this little bit of success, how much I miss the people I came to love so. My loss felt so enormous at one point that it caused me to question everything I had come to believe and trust in the years that eventually became this book.
Somehow, I survived that loss, but I wouldn't have put money on it if you'd asked me in November. A few people have asked for a sequel to this book. I assure you that it--at least as it pertains to many of those characters and their relationship to me--would be too sad to write.
All that I believed and trusted, and then suddenly questioned in my very core, has now come back to me a million times over. Since the book came out in May, strangers and friends alike have reach out to me in person and on the internet to tell me how much my story meant to them, and why. Everyone has shared with me something slightly different, and every one of them has moved me in his or her own particular way. Their stories and reactions reassure me that this was the right thing to do--that storytelling is important, that vulnerability is important, that bravery and generosity and love are important.
So is forgiveness.
I lost my sense of magic back in November. Readers have given it back to me.
I will continue to write. I am more determined than ever.
And in the meantime, I will continue traveling to discuss this book at shops and festivals. I am putting together Book Tour, Round Two as we speak. I'll be returning to the UK mid-September to mid-October, drifting from London to Wales to Sussex to Grasmere. Stay tuned.
Lastly, I want to send a huge thank-you to all of the people who came out in the spring to support me, house me, host me, travel with me, celebrate me, interview me, picnic with me, stargaze with me, and--GOOD LORD--listen to me. Some crossed oceans to be with me. Some crossed the River Severn (in both directions!) to be with me. Some sponsored events, like Joyce and Nigel at Ty-Mawr Lime, Tim and Carrie at Booka in Oswestry, and Nancy Durham at Farmers' Welsh Lavender in Powys. And I know one Jenny Morris was out there in the ether, pulling strings and watching over me.