This has been a tough week for the country as well as for me. Kate’s been in the hospital all week and is scheduled for another round of brain surgery on Wednesday; the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five police officers in Dallas are all over the news and social media.
At the same time, Arabella of Mars is marching toward release next Tuesday. I still hope to do my reading at Powell’s Cedar Hills on Wednesday (yes, even if Kate has her surgery that day), and to travel to San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York for my readings there in the following week. I plan to be active on social media promoting it.
This feels wrong. This feels very, very wrong. How can I gallivant across the country and post excitedly about my book when there’s so much tragedy at home and abroad?
The answer is that it’s my job. I am a fiction writer, which is a species of entertainer. Tor pays me to entertain people, and as part of this arrangement I have made certain commitments to publicize the book in an entertaining fashion. I am a conscientious person and I will keep those commitments if at all possible.
If I were still working at Intel or McAfee I would probably not be sitting in the hospital with Kate all day the way I have been. I would probably be working at the day job, however distractedly, during the weekday. My “day job” with Tor is even more important to me than that was (though not so lucrative), so I’m going to keep doing it in the same way I would with any other day job. This may mean leaving town even though Kate’s in the hospital, as long as she’s stable and our friends and relatives are available to look after her, and it may mean tweeting and facebooking about the book, as long as it’s done with some sensitivity (for example, I postponed the scheduled release of a humorous video in the most grievous hours after the Sterling and Castile murders).
There may be people who are offended by book promotion tweets on a day when the whole Twitterverse is in mourning over the latest senseless deaths. There may be people who find it heartless of me to sing and tell jokes while my wife is in the hospital. But this is something I have to do, and not just for Tor or for Kate but for myself.
I have been working toward this day, the release of my first novel, for over ten years. If I had to pass it up, even for as important a reason as this, I would be devastated. Kate wants me to do it, and do it up right. And Kate’s psychologist told me just a few minutes ago that it’s important for both of us… that anything I can do to bring me joy and boost my energy will help me help her in the long run. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and if I have to take some time and energy for myself now I will have more to give her later.
So. I will be doing my very best to appear at Powell’s Cedar Hills in Beaverton on July 13, and Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego on July 15, and Shades & Shadows in Los Angeles on July 16, and KGB in New York on July 20. (There are more events planned after that, but this is as far ahead as I can see right now.) There will be singing and costumes and giveaways. I will strive to entertain, to bring some smiles and laughter into this time which is so very difficult for all of us.
I hope that you will join me.