short and sweet. ok, long-ish and a little salty.

Two weeks ago, I signed a book contract.

I’m coauthoring a critical introduction to American women writers that will be published by Routledge in December 2014. ::begin screaming that ends some time after the complete manuscript is due June 1::

I have felt (do feel) weird talking about it online. I know a lot of bloggers writing books. I think that’s awesome, and I think their books are awesome, and I’m happy for everyone. But I started to feel like if I said anything about it here, people would look at me and how not-one-of-the-big-girls I am and be like, Her? I hesitated to post what seems like the obligatory author line signature photo on twitter and instagram because that kind of picture seems to be owned by the Big Successful Bloggers writing memoir/spiritual/Jesus-y books based on their blogs, not academic books, and I felt like by posting one of those pictures I’d look like I was claiming to be one of them. Presuming. Pretending. Getting something I didn’t deserve.

And also? A little bit of me was ashamed because my book and I don’t fit the mold. I had all these flashbacks to this January day in kindergarten where two little girls were pretending to cry on the playground because they missed the Santa Bears they’d gotten for Christmas, and when I tried to join in they told me I couldn’t because I had a Jingle Bear.

Santa Bear (left) and Jingle Bear (right)

Then and now, I did the opposite of what I was supposed to do. I got it twisted. In my head, somehow I imagined that all you lovely people would give me the Santa Bear treatment. That you’d be as mean to me as I’ve been to myself. That’s what I’ve been doing, telling myself I shouldn’t tell anyone because I don’t really deserve this.

But you know what? *earmuffs, delicate readers* Fuck that. I’m writing a book, and I’m really excited about it. I’m also terrified, because I’m writing a book. But I’ve worked really hard to get here, and I’ll work harder still before it’s over, and I hope when I’m done I’ll have a book that helps people understand the incredible, diverse, strange, beautiful ways women have contributed to American literary culture in the last 450 years.

It’s a really exciting project, but more than that, it feels necessary and important. You might think that women writers have made huge strides breaking into what used to be boys-only clubs of literature and letters, and you’d be right. But there are still people like David Gilmour, who loudly proclaimed that he doesn’t teach women writers because they haven’t written anything that he cares about, and then protested that what he really meant was [exactly what he'd said before, but more elaborately]. And there are writers like Nicholas Sparks, who vehemently opposes being called a writer of the much-derogated chick lit or romance genres, insisting instead that he writes “love tragedies,” a category in which all writers “happen to be men.” (Um, to both counts.) And as long as people like this are around, who pretend that this world is a meritocracy where (unlike white, straight dudes) women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ communities just haven’t really earned their places yet, there will need to be voices like mine and my coauthor’s, reminding people that we do in fact have rich heritages to explore and celebrate.

Dang if that doesn’t get me all fired up. It almost makes me want to instagram this.

This Publishing Agreement is mad.

16 Responses to short and sweet. ok, long-ish and a little salty.

  1. Jesse says:

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHH A BOOOOOOOOK!!!!!

    And a contract. And a fancy signature. This is amazing. Congratulations, Sharoney.

    • Sharone says:

      Thanks, jadoogie. :) I have been practicing my fancy signature for YEARS. (Or just growing progressively more lazy about things like letters and recognizable words and dotting Is and stuff. One or the other of those two things.)

  2. Laura says:

    Yay yay yay!! Congratulations! So excited for you :)

    • Sharone says:

      Thank you! This is a life-dream-come-true for me. I wish I could go back to tell six-year-old me about it. Or the ten-year-old me who devoured biographies of famous/historical women. Or even the me who started grad school in 2007 with no freaking clue what I was doing. Life’s funny and awesome sometimes. :)

  3. Ashley says:

    HOLY GUACAMOLE A BOOK! Congratulations!

  4. Leigh Kramer says:

    Firstly, SO EXCITED for you! Secondly, oh my word, do we ever need this book to be written. What a timely and important topic. I absolutely know you’ll do it justice.

    If there’s anything I can do to help along the way, please let me know!

    • Sharone says:

      Thank you! I think my head’s stopped spinning and I’m settling in to the actual work now. Which is…comfortingly familiar and terrifying at the same time. Do you do emergency midnight deliveries of cheese?

  5. I want to cry all over my keyboard and stand up and cheer all at once. You write those words and you stand up and proclaim the good work you’re doing, my friend. Eshet Chayil, you woman of valor.

  6. Jo says:

    I love you and your Jingle Bear self. I think I might even start calling you Dr. Jingle Bear. It has a ring to it, a jingle one might say. Anyway, I’m so ridiculously proud of you. And I love that you don’t fit the mold. (Moldiness is overrated.) And I love that you are getting this WELL DESERVED opportunity. And I love that you used earmuffs in this post. Also, I fully expect you to read me excerpts on Voxer so I can tweet that me and my BTF are just hanging on Voxer chatting about her book. If that doesn’t make the Santa bear girls think we’re cool, then I just don’t know. But for reals, I love you Dr. Jingle Bear.

    • Sharone says:

      Excuse me, but I think I will be reading you excerpts over the CB radio. Also, Santa Bear girls gonna be Santa Bear girls. They will never think we’re cool, probably, and we will hug our Jingle Bears and say, “You handsome thing, you, it was never a contest, but you’re better anyway.” So. This metaphor may have gotten away from me, but I think the thing to take away from this is that that Santa Bear can *earmuffs* #($@)#*#@) Jingle Bear’s *earmuffs* #(#$@)@&. xx

  7. Melinda says:

    Congratulations – and right on! And write on. Keep us posted.
    PS: My grandmother loved her Jingle Bear and found it a vast improvement over the Santa Bear. x

    • Sharone says:

      Thank you! :) Your grandmother sounds like a smart lady. I mean, who could look at that picture and not clearly prefer Jingle Bear? (also, it should be noted that seeing the picture of JB actually made me miss him in an almost visceral way. He was the companion of many years. Oh, that face. Hang on, I’m having a moment here.)

  8. A hearty congratulations! Your feelings about talking about this stuff online — I get it. I don’t even like to talk about book * ideas * for fear of that same potential criticism/judgment. But as you already know, your blog does not have to be the means to the book. And at the same time, if your blogspace is where you do good thinking, why deny yourself the use of it?

    So glad you shared this awesome news here :D

    • Sharone says:

      Thank you! I know the fear of criticism is mostly in my head. It’s a battle I fight over and over about things as big as books and as small as instagram photos, on my not-best days. I can *get* comfortable in my own skin, but sometimes it doesn’t take much for that skin to start feeling ill-fit again. (And let’s face facts: sometimes there are critics and judgers. Some people are better than you think they’ll be, and some people that you think will be first in line to cheer you on are hard or weirdly silent or dealing with their own things. God bless them, all of them. I keep having to remember that I need to be ok with what I do, no matter what other people think. And when I remember that, it’s like I can take a deep breath again. It’s like remembering I can come home.)

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