I have done something liberating and joyous this morning: Ordered five copies of each of my books! Various reasons for this, the main one being the need to overcome an inhibition – not of my making – which has crippled me ever since I published the first one on December 22nd 2014.
The decision to go for both the e-book option and the print-on-demand one caused such unpleasantness that, for the past two years, I have felt terror and shame when confronted by ‘real’ copies of these books I laboured over with such love and hope. This nastiness was one of several nails in the coffin of my marriage – and it has taken me a long time to feel that I deserve to be a published writer and to feel pride in my creations.
They will arrive in a big box, shipped over from the United States, towards the end of next month. This time, I shall be able to take pleasure in opening the book. This time, I will not need to feel tense and afraid about the response, or worry about the financial side of the transaction. This time, the twenty-five new books will be a source of delight and not guilt.
I remain frozen inside in some significant ways – and I do not think I will be publishing anything new until the thawing process has finished. But who knows? I did not think I would ever step into a classroom to teach again! Boy, was I wrong there!
I no longer need to sell books in order to survive. In fact, I never did: That erroneous conceit was the brain-child of a materialistic other. I do not need to create a best-selling novel in order to have worth, nor do I need to feel ashamed that none of my books have sold in vast quantities.
I am no longer under a Dictatorship. I no longer quiver under the umbrella of Tyranny. Let me just share one final moment with you. When I published ‘LLB’, I gave my then-husband a copy as a gift. Back in the Autumn, when we were beginning to pack up the house and rationalise our belongings, I found that the copy I’d given him was one of only a handful of books placed upon his discard pile.
This was a symbolic act. It represented his whole attitude towards my writing and publishing efforts. By then, I was almost beyond hurt where he was concerned – but I still registered the moment. It freed me! It broke down a wall I wasn’t even consciously aware I had erected. It gave me back full ownership of my writing, my creativity in the wider sense – and my autonomy as a person.
This consignment of precious books written, and made manifest, at a time of deepening marital crisis and misery, will mean far more than twenty-five colourful tomes. They are symbols of my right to be a writer, my freedom to create what I want when I want. They are my voice box returned intact. They are all about my survival. They are an integral part of the Ali Phoenix risen, once again, from the ashes.