I’m listening to Hadestown right now which is appropriate as it’s on Ani’s Righteous Babe Records label and Ani herself plays Persephone (and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver plays Orpheus, meow). I’m finishing up the book — freaking out about deadlines and getting everything back from my editor and illustrator, fighting with Gordon about what needs to be included. You can thank him for the glyphs and the impromptu glamours. I fought him kicking and screaming on the glyphs but I have to admit, I really love the way they turned out. My illustrator neatened them up a bit, but I did the actual work. They look Taoist according to Gordon and Jow, but really I used Gordon’s sigil methods and drew inspiration from my Chinese calligraphy class that I took in college over winter break where I got my hands swatted a lot and scolded for my impatience by my professor, the granddaughter of a calligraphy Master.
As I struggle to make everything look right and fight with figuring out everything I need to figure out on CreateSpace in terms of royalty selection, templates for margins and other bullshit, I silently scold myself for trying to be more Ani than Silver Ravenwolf. Why didn’t you try harder to get a publisher? The old methods mean you don’t have to struggle with margins and uploads. If you had just tried harder to be what you’re not, this all could have been much easier. If you faked meditation, if you could feign historical accuracy, if you could make your book strictly dickly or vags only, if you didn’t assume that your readers could handle knowledge past the 101 level for your first book, some nice wo/man could have held your hand. Could have validated you. Could have guided you. Could have given you money instead of driving yourself deeper into debt. Just once, Deborah Marie Elizabeth Castellano-Scangarella could you have made this easier for yourself? Just once, could you do what you’re supposed to have done? Could you have done what was required of you and tried, just tried, to not be a fucking cupcake in a hardware store and been a hammer instead?
I can’t. And it terrifies me. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do with SalonCon. I insisted on the girliest, frilliest, most tea filled convention and I earned my place on the Steampunk timeline as the first for whatever that’s good for. I was interviewed by MTV and the New York Times. I insisted on SC being a feminist enterprise, I made all my business decisions with a clear conscious to guide me, and I have no regrets about any business decision I made. We also never saw any money from it and my ex-husband walked on me the day after what would be the last convention. The turning point year. I closed my fan. I closed my shop. I went out on top with my head held high.
I run through all of my justifications in publishing this book the way I’m publishing it. I hired an illustrator. I hired a copy editor. It’s a full book, longer than I ever thought it could be. I’m doing marketing through various venues. I’ve built an audience. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is. I have to hope. I have to hope that being different doesn’t mean lesser, doesn’t mean undeveloped, doesn’t mean undeserving. I have to hope that at the end of this tunnel there’s a light of some kind. I have to hope that this is the next step in building something. I have to believe that what I wrote matters. That it will be read. That it will be talked about. That it will be important.
It’s small things at this point. All the graphics have been added to the interior part of the book, the back cover and about the author part has been completed. I just need a minor correction to my cover, a blurb for the back cover and my final manuscript to be returned to me by my editor and then to upload it and . . .then my book is ready to be published. This week. It will come out this week. All in. But still.
Doubt comes in/ with tricky fingers/ Doubt comes in/ With fickle tongues/ Doubt comes in and my heart falters/ And forgets the songs it sung/ Where are you? Where are you now?