Exhibit A: Cute, fat baby presenting me with a tower of fresh books, chocolate, and champagne.
Exhibit B: Nervous dork trying to open champagne. (Fittingly, the *pop* woke up an angry 3 year old.)
On the eve of my first book publication, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for the teachers who encouraged me to write and made my work better. Gratitude for the teachers who hated my work and made me try harder. Gratitude for my family who supported me, tolerated the early throes of writerly angst when I was a teenager, read bad drafts of early stories. Gratitude for the Dogtor who, day by day, chipped away at my stubborn practicality and told me to go after my dream until I finally gave in and wrote a damn story. Gratitude to the literary journals who took these damn stories when they got better. Gratitude for my girls who inspire and distract me when I need it most. Gratitude for my agent, Julie Barer, who did such a fantastic job guiding and placing this book. Gratitude toward the entire Scribner team - specifically Sam, Kara, Kate, Nan, the sales & design teams - for making such a beautiful book and putting it out into the world. Gratitude to the booksellers and bookstores who read early copies of the book and ordered it, particularly my local stores, Northshire and Battenkill Books. Gratitude to Barnes and Noble, Oprah, and Amazon for putting a work of short fiction on a big stage. Gratitude toward bloggers and tweeters for reviewing and talking about the book, especially early supporters like Book Lady and Jason Rice. Gratitude for mentors like John Katz. Gratitude to old and new friends, who have amazed me with their enthusiastic support of my work. Gratitude to Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal, and others for the positive early reviews. Gratitude to the early blurbers, particularly George Singleton, who was my first writing teacher, and the first person to say "good luck" today.
Another thing - my peers from Bennington and Breadloaf have been wildly generous with their support of my book. I can't wait to return the favor. I'm lucky to have so many talented and kind friends.
Everyone reading this site or buying my book - THANK YOU. I appreciate your time and interest, and I hope Birds of a Lesser Paradise brings you some moments of reading pleasure.
Humbled, excited, nervous, happy,