You know how there are different types of relationships? Some of them are shallow flirtations and some of them are deep, lifelong connections and some are hot-and-heavy-and-not-much-else.
There's one particular type of relationship that I have in mind here. Most of us have had this one at some point: The One That’s Not Quite The One. Close but no cigar. Do not pass go. Do not live happily ever after.
I think part of the reason the Not Quite The One relationship is so devastating is that you can picture what could have been. There’s serious potential at first, and you fall hard and you want it to work out so, so badly. There might never be a clear reason for why, but sometimes the mesh simply doesn’t happen. It just won't go, won't click, and it might not even be anyone's fault, but that won't keep you from getting hurt. And if you don't have the good sense to know when to quit, when to acknowledge that it's just not a good fit, it can really fuck you up by the time you’re forced to end it.
Well, it's like that with stories, too. Some stories are silly and short and a hell of a lot of fun. Some turn out to be books that you'll spend a year writing and that’ll be hallmarks of who you were when you wrote them. Some will be little more than erotica. And some stories are Not Quite The One. With this kind of story, you care passionately about the work, but you just can’t seem to get the writing to work. You might be trying to use the story to come to terms with some personal issue that you’re not ready to deal with yet; you may not have the technical skill to tell the story the way it deserves to be told. You might not be emotionally mature enough (or experienced enough in that area) to convey the real complications of the situation you’ve set up. More logistically, you might be broke or sick or working a day job, so much so that your ability to produce is fundamentally compromised. Most likely, it’s a combination of all of the above. For me, here and now, it’s a combination of all of the above, with the work stress contributing considerably to some health issues that I really needed to take care of.
Which is my explanation for why the hockey book and I broke up.
I feel like shit about it, but it’s not going to happen.
I'm sorry if this announcement is upsetting. I can understand being frustrated if this was something you were really looking forward to. I was really looking forward to it too; I sure as hell don't hold that disappointment or frustration against you, because I'm feeling similar things. Add in a sense of failing at a new challenge and letting down people who are counting on you and being worried about how it’ll affect your career, and then you’ll know where I am.
I think I still want to write a hockey story some day, but it won't be this one. And that's a kind of complication too, because the way me and this book have broken up, unfortunately, has put the whole publishing thing into a bit of limbo.
I'm not in trouble. And neither is anyone else. My publisher is amazing; they are amazing people; they have gone out of their way to take care of me in this process, and I'm incredibly grateful to them for their flexibility and understanding. I still like them, and they still like me. One day there might be other books with them. I'd like that, if I can come up with work that suits their needs as well as my own. Anyone who’s been thinking about submitting to them absolutely should.
Let me be clear before anyone panics (most of all myself)--I'm not done writing. I've been writing stories since third grade. It's never gonna stop. It's just a question of how to get my work to you in a way that suits my individual preferences as a writer and bolsters my mental and physical health. I think I have an idea for how to do that. It might require a little open-mindedness--assuming you're willing to give it a chance, and I truly hope you are--but I think there's a way. It might even mean you get more stories from me instead of fewer. Fingers crossed, anyway.
This new route is going really well so far. I'm excited about writing again, anyway, and that's a big thing. I'd kind of forgotten how good that could feel. Just like with relationships, a lot of the time, you come out of the Not Quite The One into something that's better for everyone involved and you get happy again.
So to sum up: please hang in there. I'm not done, but there might be some growing pains as I get my shit together. I appreciate the hell out of all of you. I've been really lucky to have such wonderful readers, and I’m seriously grateful for all the interest and support I've gotten from you. I am still planning to get the Rough Trade post-book content out to you guys, although it has been delayed a bit by the real life stuff going on. I'll keep you guys informed on my blog and via my newsletters, so stay tuned.
And in the meantime, I wish you good books.