A letter to all my readers, Facebook friends, and other friends:
I have been quiet lately. I apologize. I love you all and am so grateful. The enthusiastic reception you gave my first novel, By Fire, By Water – which I experienced first-hand all over the country as you invited me to Philadelphia, Miami, Sarasota, Houston, Seattle, Cherry Hill, Washington DC, and so many other places, and which I'm still experiencing as you continue inviting me into your living rooms, to meet with reading clubs via Skype – has been overwhelming.
I want to thank not only my readers, but also the community of writers who have warmly embraced me and my work. The fellowship I have found with like-minded artists has been so heartwarming. I always thought I was alone in this insanity. Now I've learned I have lots of friends there. Many of them – Stephanie Cowell, Beth Hoffman, Christopher Gortner, and others – have lit a fire of comraderie that continues to provide warmth.
But as I said, despite my recent discovery that I am, after all, a social animal, I have been quiet lately. As you may have surmised, I'm hard at work on my second novel. Every moment I spend doing anything other than working on it is difficult for me. Often it feels like torture to have to pull myself away from my work – even to write this blog post.
Every morning, my Muse wakes me at around three a.m. to take dictation. If I've been up late the night before, I'll sometimes tell Her to go away and I'll sleep in until six or so. When that happens, I lose a day of work. Sure, I do my best. I try to write. I revise. I re-revise a thousand times. I read. But the fact remains, when I stand Her up, my dear Friend keeps her mouth shut.
It is a magical experience, taking this dictation and watching a world come to life on the screen of the little netbook which is, at the moment, my preferred writing instrument. And yet, the work She is dictating to me is so different, I wonder whether my readers will “get” it.
I had a dream last night. I was piloting a big, beautiful jet something like the Gulfstream 200 that my dear friend Dave McCollum flies. We landed, but then, while I was taxiing down a narrow dirt road, one of my wing-tips hit a tree and the wing fell off. Annie and I got out of the jet and I discovered it was just a little model plane that I held in my hands. Its wing was still broken and I told Annie: “Oh my God, we're going to have to bring this back to the flight school where I rented it and we'll have to pay them six hundred thousand dollars.” I was so worried. Where would I come up with all that money? But when we returned the plane, the woman at the flight school just smiled. “Don't worry, it's insured. But if you crash another plane, you won't be able to rent from us again, so be careful next time.”
I felt so relieved for a moment, but then my cell phone rang. It was Judith Gurewich, my publisher. She wanted to meet me for dinner in a half hour. I would have to get home, showered, and dressed, and then drive to the distant restaurant where she proposed we dine. But I couldn't find my car keys, or even my car.
When I told my son Ariel about this dream, he asked what I thought it meant. I said I thought the beautiful, soaring experience of flying the G-200 was like writing my work-in-progress. When I crashed and brought it to the flight school, it was as if the muses departed – my fear of losing whatever force is keeping me in the air as it were. But then, when the lady at the flight school reassured me that it was insured, it was like an angel telling me: don't worry, we're there for you, even if something seems to go terribly wrong. Just trust us.
“And what about Judith?” asked Ariel.
I told him that I thought my conversation with my publisher represented my fears about bringing this work to the marketplace. No matter how good I may think it is, there's always the distinct possiblity I will “miss my rendezvous” with the publishing world or the public.
Ariel said: “Dad, trust that angel that spoke to you. You're covered.”
Yeah, right. Easier said than done, son.
God bless you all and thank you for bearing with me. Love, Mitchell