Sunday was one of my favorite semi-annual events in Paris: the English-language used book sale!
Twice a year SOS Help holds a 4-hour extravaganza where eager Anglophones come to stock up on new (to them) reads.
I like that the money goes toward a good cause, but selfishly what I really like are the prices. All paperbacks go for 1 euro, hardcovers for 2.
Guess how many I picked up? 35!
This was the limit of the cash in my wallet and the amount I could physically carry back with me on the metro. I always come equipped with a large bag to the sale, but what I really need is a rolling cart!
The scene: oodles of books spread across tables, scads of people hunting for treasure amid the stacks.
I myself squeal with delight when I run across great titles. A Visit From the Goon Squad! How has no one else spotted this multi-award winner? The Kite Runner. Ah-ha! I will finally get to see what all the fuss was about (I’ve already started it and can’t stop turning pages). Reading Lolita in Tehran, The Poisonwood Bible (one of my favorites).
In short, I got some really good loot.
It makes me think that no matter what happens with the rapidly changing publishing landscape, nothing will quite equal the thrill of discovering a physical book. As a writer I just want to have my words read, so if that’s online, on a digital device, or on the page, it’s exciting no matter the format. But as a reader, scanning ebook titles doesn’t quite give me the same pleasure as picking up a book with my hands.
As I ran my finger across all of the different spines searching for good reads, I couldn’t help but wonder whether one day some of my books would be found in such a pile.
I wasn’t sure whether I should say anything as it feels like quite an uncertain time for me right now but heck, you know I like to share: I finished my novel, folks!
Yes, after years of writing, revising, putting away, writing, revising, talking with beta readers, and revising again (did I mention revising?), that mysterious click finally happened where I said, this is it. The novel is done.
Of course, I kind of agree with the old maxim that art is never finished, only abandoned. But let me say, I’m abandoning it in really good shape! I literally feel like I cried, sweated, and bled to make this book. Let’s see what happens now!
I’ve started sending query letters out to agents. I’ve been told to strap myself in for a very long wait. When I told Anne Marsella (who I interviewed recently) I had finished and was going to try to get published, she said “hang on for a wild ride.”
So, I will certainly report if and when I have anything to report. But, it could be months (hoping not years!) before I have breaking news.
But rather than be too anxious about this (yeah, right!), I need to remember to just bask in the glow for a little while. I mean, this is breaking news: I did it! I accomplished something vitally important to me, weathered bouts of self-doubt and despair to complete the largest creative project I’ve ever tackled.
I really hope I’ll get to share it with you someday.