Just Happy Moments I Wish To Record

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I had quite a few people yesterday telling me, “Well, I haven’t read your novel Flex yet, but…”  To which I responded, “That’s good, because it’s not due out until 2015.”  Angry Robot has yet to even reveal the cover yet, though I’m told that awesomeness is coming soon.
But I did slip a copy to a good friend of mine, because he asked.  And because frankly, Jeremiah has been having a tremendously shitty year, as he’s recovering from multiple brain surgeries, and had a pretty traumatic experience in at least one of them.  So I sent him a copy of Flex – not even a cool ePub version, just the raw Word document I edited it in – figuring that I’d hear back from him in a few weeks.
Or not.  I mean, when I was recovering from my open-heart surgery, it took me months to read again between the painkillers and the bodily trauma. I figured brain surgery was worse.  It was only my ribs and my heart that got cut up, not my essential sweetmeats.
Then, three hours after I sent him the document, I got this email:
“Over the course of the last month or two I haven’t been able to read anything longer than 5 pages in one sitting. My brain just fluttered away from anything I was supposed to be concentrating on.
“I’m on page 107 of Flex. I will probably finish the book before tonight.”
And at 8:00 that evening, I got a text from him telling me that he had, in fact, read the entire damn book in one sitting.
That makes me deeply happy.
Not because he thinks the book is good, though obviously he does.  But because I remember my own frustration in the months after the triple-bypass, trying so hard to read, feeling my gaze just drift away from the page, knowing that one of my old delights had been stolen from me. And then, one night, I sat down to read Robert Jackson Bennett’s American Elsewhere, which remains one of my favorite books – partially because it’s a kick-ass book, but partially because that was the post-surgery book that took me by the hand and showed me yes, you’ll still find joys in reading.
I remember sliding through the first hundred pages of that, enthralled by how easy it was, and enthralled by my enthrallment, thinking Oh my God, I’m back.  Normality was now in sight again.  And when you’re recuperating from full-body trauma, having an experience that reminds you of what normal is can be so fucking powerful.
And for me to be able to pass that on to someone else feels good.
I don’t know if Flex will sell well.  I don’t know if it’ll be reviewed well.  I don’t know if any of you will actually like it on any level, once it’s out.
But this is a moment that I’ll cherish, even if everything else collapses.  I was That Book for someone.  And that feels good.
(Incidentally, still sorting through crit requests on the road, on a pretty spotty connection.  You’ll hear from me before next week, and thank you if you offered.)

2 Comments

  1. Jericka
    Nov 7, 2014

    Reading books.
    I have been trying to forgive myself for reading books in a non linear fashion.
    I have never really cared about spoilers. I love the characters and the way the story comes together as a whole. I don’t need to hear something in a linear order to enjoy it, and this turns out to be good. For me, at least. After chemo (or maybe starting with the first chemo session) it has become much harder to read through books from start to finish, so, I sort of skip around. Read a little here, and a little there, until the story stitches together.
    It might be my energy level, or it may be that weird thing my brain does with anxiety these days that I blame on having to sit voluntarily and quietly through all those chemo sessions, tests, and radiotherapy.
    I’m still reading, I’m just not usually doing it in the socially acceptable, and previously much easier front to back method.

  2. Gina
    Nov 8, 2014

    That Book for me was ‘Gate to Woman’s Country’ by Sherri Tepper, originally lent then given to me by a cousin.
    I was home recuperating from the third surgery to fix my pelvic bone, broken in a car accident. I was in pain, depressed, and anxious about heading into my freshman year in college. Miserable myself and probably not much fun for my family to be around either.
    My cousin lent me this book and I devoured it like I hadn’t with a book in over a year. Then I flipped right back to page one and read the entire thing again.
    The paperback I have is falling apart now. It remains one of my favorites – comfort reading – and I read it at least once a year.

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