In situations like this I always find myself making a conscious effort to look around for something ridiculous because if I don’t focus on the ponytail and Jimmy Buffet shirt on the balding man in the row in front of me I will feel so awed by the goodwill and support surrounding me that I’ll start crying and not be able to stop.
The last time I felt like this was when my Mom and I spent a weekend at Kripalu. On our third night there we were participating in this very, very cheeseball kirtan; all the songs we were chanting were in English and lyrically they were all second cousins to that rap about Hanuman that I posted on TIATIL. My book was about to come out and my mom and I were having very difficult interactions about the stuff in my book and how it affects her, all this shit that I had not allowed myself to consider while writing the book because if I had I wouldn’t have been able to write it, or anything, ever.
I sat there singing these goofy faux-Hindu songs, feeling embarrassed and trying to pretend to myself that I wasn’t feeling embarrassed. Then we were told to hold hands during a song about “children, turn to your mothers” and of course I wept.
I have been feeling like I ought to be prevented from writing at all during this strange book period, especially online, because I’m bound to say something that will offend someone whose feelings are, basically, “you are so lucky to be a published author, how dare you complain about any aspect of attaining that exalted status.” To this imaginary person I would say two things: A. I am grateful. B. I hope you write and publish a book someday.