I told Donna Cavanagh, my publisher, that I felt like I was waiting for the birth of a baby as I prepared for the release of my book, Boomer on the Ledge™, an adult picture book that explores the antics of an aging boomer. Some discomfort, difficulty sleeping, needing to pee all the time. Oops! That last one is normal for me.
Anyway, the birth analogy seemed even more appropriate when I realized that time of conception to release was about forty weeks.
The idea of a book started about two years ago, but I had the usual arguments against it. The timing wasn’t right. I didn’t have enough money. I didn’t know anything about it. I’m lazy. But my writer’s clock was ticking, and as I approached my mid-60’s, I realized there was never going to be a perfect time to become a first-time author.
So I pitched my idea to Donna at Humoroutcasts Press, and I alternated between excitement and nausea when she said, “Yes!” Donna’s mission is to help humor writers publish their work because she believes in the healing power of laughter, and she delivers terrific service at an affordable price.
As the project progressed, I had a shocking realization. I was going to have twins – not only a book but a little doll, too. How would I manage two products when I didn’t even know how to handle one?
I designed the doll over a few months, and my doll maker is a gift from God. No really. I was sitting in church when our minister, Reverend Kate, announced that our beautiful new altar cloths were courtesy the handiwork of Brenda DeRoche, and it hit me like a divine thunderbolt. Brenda! A friend, neighbor, and talented seamstress. She said,”Yes,” and the doll development began.
I started to feel better after I knew I had someone who could make the doll, and adjusted to the idea of the arrival of two creations. I comforted myself with the knowledge that there were several calendar pages to turn before October, the month we targeted for release. I had work to do, but it was summer, and the living was easy.
Sure, I had occasional moments of hyperventilation, but Donna talked me off the first author’s ledge admonishing me to practice my Lamaze breathing. Patrick went about the business of helping me see this as a business and started working on boring details like bank accounts, how to accept credit card payments, and a file system for keeping records.
Very few people knew details of the project, and there was safety in that status. Even though there were no tangible rewards for my efforts, there were also no hungry mouths, crying for attention, demanding 24-hour care. Did I mention I am lazy?
My insomnia kicked into high gear as I imagined releasing my neophytes into a world full of cruelty and misunderstanding. How would they cope with the inevitable scrapes and bruises that life brings? Would they live up to my hopes and dreams? How much labor would this entail? What kind of crazy person gives birth to twins at 64 years old?
But in the light of day after a couple of hours of sleep, I realized it took more than six decades to reach this level of insanity. And I returned to my reason for writing humor – to help smooth out life’s rough edges and bring laughter into a world that is sad, scary, and broken. If I can give one person a moment of escape from this madness, it will be worth it.
Welcome to the world, baby book, and boomer doll. Together let’s incite a laugh riot!