Two things happened yesterday. First, I got a letter from my old publisher bearing news that one of my first (and favorite) books is going out of print. This is one of the worst moments for a writer. It is a heartbreaking loss of something loved. It’s happened to me before and it will happen again, but it’s still so hard to bare. No more books available ever!! How can that be? How many copies do I have in my basement and how do I decide how to distribute them? They are rare and precious commodity now—even though they obviously aren’t popular enough that anyone wants to buy one. But, what if I—gasp—run out completely and never see the book again?!! It will be like it never existed! Despair and devastation!
Two hours later UPS delivered a padded envelope from my new publisher. Inside were three brand new spanking-shiny ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies. aka, galleys) of my picture book that is coming out early 2011. This is one of the best moments for a writer. The book looks like a book! It smells like a book! The pages are smooth and soft. The colors are vibrant. This means the book is actually going to come out and the publisher isn’t playing some cruel joke on me after all. The book was finished so long ago, that I’d actually thought it had come out and then gone out of print already, but no I’d merely forgotten that I’d created it. Ah, I have a future after all! Joy and jubilation!
So the old book is out of print, the new book is about to emerge. In the end what excites me most is the book I get to work on today, the one still in progress. That is what matters. Everything comes and goes, but if you keep working there will always be something on the table to get you excited, even with the despair and jubilation that may come all at the same time.