I’m not going to BEA this year and, yeah, it’s a bummer. There’s nothing quite like basking in the rock-n-roll glow of the Javitz Center’s yearly celebration of All Things Books, checking out the covers of this year’s brand new releases, grabbing the newest ARCs, hearing the latest Buzz Panel, checking out Teen Author Carnival, seeing fellow author pals getting their smiles on, waiting to get some fresh copies signed, and generally having a blast. But this writerly Dream-Come-True happens to be at the end of a busy school year and I will be taking the time to be there for my kids.
There is a lot of talk about balancing a writer’s life and career, folks like Sara Zarr and Maggie Stiefvater have both posted about what it’s like to discover that sweet spot on the teeter-totter between Real Life and Writing Life and let me tell you, it’s hard! It’s a very selfish thing to leave my family to spend time with (albeit imaginary) people who do everything I tell them to, however I want, whenever I want, who never talk back or leave their room messy unless I say it’s okay, where the universe bends to my every whim and when I walk away, it all stops and waits for me. It’s a heady sort of power that we must voluntarily set aside to deal with real people and real consequences, to give up control, to do the dishes and wipe up the spills and chase dust bunnies all over the house and do all those less-than-epic things that make up daily, mundane life.
And, really, that’s okay.
Because I have to remember, this isn’t just my life, but one I happily share with Better-Than-Boyfriend and the two small people who look vaguely like us and keep asking what’s for dinner. (As if I know!) I try to keep my keyboard obsession to myself, quietly locked away in my office, sequestered in the wee hours when they are either at work, at school, or asleep, but it leaks out on the edges like the proverbial PB&J (verboten in school now due to severe peanut allergies) as I disappear into the office to draft a blog post or scribble down an idea that just came to me, attend a tweetchat or webinar, update my status, or scramble for a higher word count when the deadlines loom. It’s tricky and I’m still trying my sea legs at this funky trapeze act called Being An Author while at the same time answering to the call of Being Everything Else.
Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Right now, I am choosing to ignore my more Kermit-With-Envy feelings and instead choose to follow my heart(s). And luckily, I don’t have to miss much. (Click here for livestream!) And, now, neither do you!
Be sure to follow the action from generous authors, editors, book bloggers, and readers on Twitter at hashtag #BEA2012.