I’m in a BOOK!

Companion-Piece-cover-web-200x300

You guys! I’m in a BOOK! And yes the capital letters there make it look like I’m yelling. THAT’S BECAUSE I AM!

I AM IN A REAL-LIFE MADE-FROM-PAPER WITH-WORDS-ON-THE-PAGES BOOK!

Ahem. Sorry. I’ll try to control myself. But did you hear? I’m in a BOOK!

Ok, it’s seriously (mostly) out of my system now. You have to understand, I have been a voracious reader for most of my life. When I was a kid, we’d go to the library as a family, and each of us would take out a huge stack of books. It was a point of pride that I read every Doctor Who Target novelization from the Muskego Public Library—as well as everything in the young adult section. And then I moved on to the grown-up science fiction section before I was even in High School. I am a Reader.* It’s part of my basic makeup. In a way, I see books as magical, sacred objects. So much of my upbringing centered around them, it’s hard to imagine my life without books.

Anyway, that might give you an idea why the thought of being in one is so mind-boggling to me. It’s kind of like when Verity! was nominated for a Hugo Award. (That still hasn’t sunk in as a thing that actually happened.) There’s this magical world of scifi and fantasy and books, and it’s totally “other”, and suddenly I’m plunged right into the middle of it.

Ok. Let’s shove this silly wide-eyed-novice act** out of the way now. Even if I was an accomplished writer with dozens of credits to my name, I would be honored-and-then-some to be part of this project. The book, Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who, not only covers one of my favorite subjects, Doctor Who, but it includes (and is edited by) some of the most talented women I know (and many talented women I don’t know). I am in august company and am well aware of the fact. I shall try not to spill anything on myself at the fancy release party*** and thus betray what an unproven tyro I am.

Because I am a tyro. And honestly, there’s no shame in that. Everybody starts somewhere. Not everyone waits until they’re in their fourth decade to let their scribblings see the light of day, but some of us do. To be fair, I did write this essay, “We, Robots” (about the Doctor’s mechanical companions), almost two years ago. (Publishing can be a long process!) I’m happy to say two things about my essay. 1) I am incredibly proud of it. And 2) I have come a long way as a writer in these last two years.

One of the most happily mature moments I’ve ever had was reading the proof of my essay and seeing all the (many) things I would do differently if I wrote it today. Now wait—that in itself isn’t what made me happy. What pleased me was my reaction to the many things I spotted. I wasn’t kicking myself for being a lesser writer in the past. I wasn’t panicking because people are going to read this and ohmigod they’ll think I’m a lunkhead! Nope. I was smiling at past-E. Saying to her, “Good try you youngin’ you! You put together something you were proud of, and you were right to be.”

Instead of looking at my past mistakes—no, not mistakes, just different choices. Instead of looking at the different choices I’d made and focusing on how they’re unfortunate, my gut reaction was to think about what I’d do differently now, and be proud of myself for growing so much. The fact that I can now see a better way to do things is a positive! It’s a sign I’ve grown, and growth is good.

With any luck, if I keep at it, I’ll look back at the stuff I’m writing now and say “Nice try kid, but just wait until you get to be me!”

To heap pride upon pride, I’m also proud of myself for growing to the point where this is my default–where looking at the shiny side of the coin is second nature.° I spent a lot of years focusing on the negative stuff, and I found that negativity breeds negativity. Turns out the flip side is that positivity creates more of the same. But I’m digressing here. The real point is:

I’m in a BOOK!

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*For more on this, see the post I put up last Friday –which was actually written weeks ago and then somehow fell by the wayside.

**Totally not an act.

***I don’t believe there’s an actual fancy release party. I’m speaking figuratively here. The party is likely to be on Twitter, as many of the best parties these days are.

°I’m holding back from a glass-half-full reference here. No need to overdo it on the platitudes. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all.

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6 thoughts on “I’m in a BOOK!

  1. bsdonovan says:

    Wow, that is really amazing! Being a Dr. Who fan, and a scifi fan in general, I totally get how amazingly wonderfully totally AWESOME it must feel (ok, your ALL CAPS were a little contagious).

    So, heartfelt congratulations.

  2. Paul says:

    Congratulations. That’s something to be proud of. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? My name and a few of my comments comments/thoughts (and some of my illustrations/artwork) appeared in Leander Kahney’s “Cult of Mac” book about a decade ago, and I remember standing in Barnes & Noble, flipping through it until I found my little section of the thing…I was beaming! That had never happened to me before.

    So that’s awesome. You’ve got every reason to toot your horn a bit! You write better than I draw, so… :)

    PS – I’ve been listening to The Incomparable podcasts lately (how did I just discover these?!) and I especially like the ones when you’re on the panel (the “Star Wars Holiday Special” episode, in particular, is a complete riot).

    • Erika Ensign says:

      It’s the most delightful feeling indeed! I can’t wait until I’ve actually seen a print copy of this thing. I shall do just as you did and flip directly to my bit. How could I not?

      And thanks so much for your kind words about The Incomparable! I sometimes worry I’m not contributing enough (and I had that thought about the Star Wars Holiday Special in particular), so it’s nice to hear you think I’m worth hearing. :) (And I agree–that episode was bananapants crazy!)

  3. JB says:

    Wooohoooo….. You should be excited AND use capitals – I hope you did some jumping around too. Congrats. It’s a fabulous achievement and much to be proud of so celebrate and enjoy.

    Oh and don’t worry about your contributions to any of the podcasts (I’ve heard you on lots) … you’re there because you have something to contribute and you do. I enjoy your contributions and appreciate them as I find myself agreeing with you and get a better insight (especially AGB5). And you sound like you’re having fun…

  4. BeckyB says:

    You’re perspective on looking at the past is a good one, and one I needed to hear today. It’s all to easy to look at things you did, or the person you were in the past, and get negative and discouraged about it. To focus on the growth is a great positive perspective that I’ll try to remember next time I get down on myself.

    Congratulations on the book. I understand why you are so excited. I had a tiny article published in a magazine a couple years back and it felt totally awesome to walk into the library and know that something I had written was sitting there among the rows and rows of books. It was incredibly empowering, like, I actually had a voice. I hope your book is a big success.

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