Just To Be Clear On This: On Flex, And Rebecca

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 4.824% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The greatest sign of success on Flex, for me, is that I’m getting the right kind of feedback from my friends.  I’ve seen the hesitant, stiff-smiled, “Oh, yeah, your book was good!” look too many times not to know it when I see it.  Instead, I’m getting that wide-eyed, holy-shit look of “Flex was good,” followed by a pointed query as to when the sequel drops.
The reviews, too, have been kind.  My Goodreads rating still hovers between 4.1 and 4.2 stars, which is frankly amazing for a first book.  And the sales have been decent, and the first three stops in this insane book tour have been well-attended by people I love and don’t see nearly enough.
Judging it as a first novel debut, I’d put this in the top 10% of first novels.  Maybe the top 5%.  I am living a happy dream that I’ve worked for all my life, and it almost expunges the sad nights I spent stacking up rejections and writing with the sad realization that maybe nobody will ever read thisMaybe all this effort means you’re not good enough.
But let me be clear.
Last night, I was lying in bed, planning my trip to Seattle, for a two-week book tour, having just been tagged by an old friend on Facebook to tell me that I was, and I quote, “white-hot” as an author.
I would have given every bit of that up to have my dead goddaughter Rebecca walk through my bedroom door.
Every last fucking sale.
Every last fucking review.
Every last hope of being a writer.
Rebecca is deep in the DNA of Flex.  I’m not going to say that she is Aliyah, but when I wandered lost I asked, “What would Rebecca do?” and her riotous indignation was inevitably the answer.  And I wrote her not as a tribute, but as a triumph; when I started Flex, Rebecca was four years old, and healthy, and an adorable, unstoppable little thug.
We could not have known about the tumors growing in her head.
We could not have envisioned that someone so spunky would be gone.
Look at this kid, all this compassion and snarkiness and love in ten seconds, and tell me you can imagine she’s gone.

While I was on my book tour this weekend, hitting New York and Boston, some far braver people than I were shaving their heads for Saint Baldrick’s charity to raise funds in Rebecca’s memory.  To stop other families from going through what we did.  To find, as best as is possible, an end to cancer.
They are teetering on the edge of raising $100,000 in funds.  At $98,273 as I write this.
I ask you: if you bought Flex and loved it, I am grateful. I am.  But I would be more grateful still if you could reach deeper into your pockets and donate what you can to help assist the people who tried their best to save my little burning girl, my hope, my love, my loss.
I would throw my own book onto the bonfire, if God would let me, to bring her back; since I cannot, I will throw money into science to bar others from putting another child’s body into a tiny, tiny coffin.
Thank you.

2 Comments

  1. Mary Turzillo
    Mar 29, 2015

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I did recognize Aliyah as Rebecca. Nobody could create a child character that believable without deep acquaintance with a real child. I’ve often said I’d give up my poetry and my stories to have my son back, but the truth is, sacrifices like that would be counterproductive. Maybe we can use our art to forge a world where people’s children live long and healthy lives. Go, Ferrett.

    • TheFerrett
      Mar 30, 2015

      Oh, Mary, I wish we both could undo what’s happened to us. And we can only hope to help someone else.
      I’m really glad you of all people liked it. You especially.

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