I heard the two obligatory knocks on my front door from the UPS dude and, as though our couch was equipped with a nuclear launch option, shot out of my afternoon stupor and onto the front porch. A square, brown package was resting at my feet in the sunlight. The realization dawned on me…I was about to meet my dream-book Chimera for the first time!
I tore the package open without ceremony, and there it was. Chimera. I held it in my hands like some oracular object delivered from the future. Truth is, I didn’t know what to do. I found myself in the confounding position of having just received my own book out of thin air. A temptation came over me to double-tap the cover in hopes that a heart would spring up and rise into the ethers as a symbol of my intense gratitude and amazement.
Instead, I opened the book, feeling the pages slip between my fingers. I skimmed through the stories, letting my eyes run across the collection of words and paragraphs from the distance of someone seeing it all for the first time. It was finally HERE.
*Insert laughing emoji, crying emoji, and also that screaming Edvard Munch emoji here*
For so long, Chimera had been a dream in whose shadow I’d labored like a madman. From the conception of idea, it seemed to possess its own consciousness, its own self-awareness, and it beckoned and clamored me to channel its essence into language. And so I wrote, lived, and wrote some more. It began to take shape while I was living in Chiang Rai, Thailand as an English teacher. A Search in Siam was the first part of Chimera to become visible, and things proceeded from there.
Shedd Wilson was written in one day in a French cafe in Vientiene, Laos as I waited for my Thai visa to be processed…The Scorekeeper, on the other hand, was more obstinate in its delivery–I started writing it in Chiang Mai and finished it last year here in Salt Lake. There were so many nights where I laid in bed, wide awake, fascinated, terrified, and entranced by what the book was becoming. I was receiving Chimera as much as I was writing it! What I wrote became like a certain arrangement of tea-leaves, which every new day I attempted to re-determine.
A book being published, regardless of the era, is the signature of an author (newly-christened, in my case) living his/her dream. It’s also, as you might deduce from the previous paragraph, sort of like walking up to the edge of a cliff with the intention of jumping into a lagoon far below. Books are incredibly personal extensions of an author’s self, conceived in the isolation of privacy, so the moment of release to the greater public can be one of apprehension as much as it is one of expectation. I’ve made the jump, and while it’s terrifying, it’s also quite exhilarating.
The dream of Chimera, at one time chimerical, has finally arrived. Maybe it will change the world, or perhaps it will be profound enough to, one day, make someone’s day just a little brighter, give it a little more depth in the fading light of a late afternoon. That’s the thing: a book release is truly a release. No longer trapped in the cage of my musings, Chimera has been set free into the world, and one of its powers is to appear differently to just about every reader who picks it up! I can only explain it to a certain degree; by the time you finish it, you may know something more about it than I do.
Just know that, as the author, I’ll be more than happy to listen.