My Basket of Kittens, or Publishing My First Book

When I was five, I told my kindergarten teacher that I could read stories, and I did it.

When I was 8, I told my third-grade teacher that I could write stories, and I did it.

When I was 12, I told my friend at the time that I could write poetry, and I did it.

When I was 23, I told my best friend that I would be a published author someday . . . and I did it.

I published my first book today. I’m a published author. I did it through Amazon’s Kindle publisher, which may not make exactly as real as having a publishing house pick it up, but it’s real to me. My book is called Break for Beauty, and right now it’s on Kindle only. Soon, though, I plan to make it into a print book. Soon, I’ll be able to hold it in my hands physically instead of just on my iPhone or Kindle screen.

My friend Anne at the Belle Jar Blog says that writing is like gestating a baby for nine months and doing all the work to bring your child, your creation, into the world, only to discover that you’ve birthed a kitten instead of a baby. And writing is like that. I didn’t think that my first book would be an anthology of poetry and essays. I thought I’d be the novel that I was working on for years during university. I thought it’d be picked up by a publisher and given to the world that way.

Break for Beauty‘s title is taken from my third-grade teacher’s favourite exercise. We would sit, quietly, while she played music or showed us a picture of something beautiful. Then she would command us to write. Spelling and grammar meant nothing. The only thing that mattered was to break from the world and focus on beauty. To paint what we saw with words.

My first profession was writing. Before I became a nanny, before I worked in an office, before I went into marketing – my first profession was writing. I didn’t become a writer through this exercise – I have always been a writer. It’s in my blood. I’m a storyteller – I’m a poet – I know when to break for beauty.

So here’s my basket of kittens. They’re not what I expected to present to the world right now. They’re not what I expected to express when I was writing. But they’re mine, my kittens that I nurtured and raised and coaxed from their hiding places. They’re grey and brown and striped and orange. And I’m sending them out into the world.

I’ve published my first book. I can’t believe it.

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