Several years ago I quoted Tolstoy on my Christmas card. Tolstoy compared writing a book to creating a monster, eventually flung out upon the public by a writer desperate to be rid of it. Tolstoy used this analogy because he lived before the era of Facebook, Twitter, eBooks, and the myriad other means of electronic communication we have at our impulsive fingertips. Writing a book in the new millennium is not like creating a monster. It’s like creating an entire zoo of monsters, all tethered to your computer.
And as I’ve discovered, tapping glibly away on the worldwide web is rather unnerving. Unlike in Tolstoy’s day, when a writer could rip and crumble her mistakes in a fit of self-recrimination, taking comfort in the fact that evidences of poor judgement would quietly disintegrate, anything the modern writer has sent flying with one click into cyberspace will exist in discoverable form after Armageddon.
For other writers out there, who enjoy, like me, the cloistered life of tapping privately away in a small cluttered home office and squirm in embarrassment at having to make themselves visible, I offer a three-step therapeutic intervention: (1) click Publish. (2) Breathe deeply and repeat this mantra: Friends will indulge and forgive; everyone else will forget. (3) Eat dark chocolate. Lots of it. I recommend Lindt “Excellence” with a Touch of Sea Salt. See my blog “For Chocolate Lovers” if you need other reasons for eating chocolate.
My first book,* updated and retitled, Alzheimer’s: A Crash Course for Friends and Relatives, was released October 29, 2013, months—to be honest, years— later than I expected, but even in this quick, digital age, the process of publishing is slow and fraught with setbacks. Due to my experience with this book, I can claim dubious expertise on the subject of how to make business mistakes, but such is life. Thankfully we often have the opportunity of second chances.
*The All-Weather Friend's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease, ©2011