Well, the big news of a week-and-a-half ago around here was that A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY made the New York Times Bestseller list. Now, as a freelancer, I’ve spent many a brain cell typing in New York Times Bestselling Author Blah-Blah on various pieces of advertising and flap copy, so this was a big deal. I dealt with it in my own low-fi way, which is to say that I immediately thought it was a joke, I was secretly being filmed for an episode of “Punk’d” and that Ashton Kutcher would jump out any minute and expose me for being the over-excitable dork that I truly am.
So I said lots of things like, “Well, that’s very lovely.” “Yes, I am very happy.” “It would seem the book is picking up steam,” while my husband danced around like a lunatic and said, “What the hell’s wrong with you! Get excited for Chrissakes!”
And I did. Silently. On the inside.
Let me tell you of my tribe and why we never discuss the pink elephant in the room and must make all our salads with mayonnaise.
Finally, after a few days of denial, I started telling people. It was my moment, and I started enjoying it. Everyone promised to look for me in print in the paper of record on Sunday the 25th. Whoo-hoo.
Flash forward to Saturday the 24th.
I’m in spin class when one of my friends gives me a quizzical look.
Her: I didn’t see your book on the NYTimes list today.
Me: Uh, are you sure? (Yeah, I’m great at those snappy one-liners.)
Her: Yeah, I looked and they had Children’s Paperbacks listed but not your book.
Me: (knowingly) It’s under Children’s Chapter Books.
Her: That wasn’t in there.
Me: Umm, well, it should be in there. (another snappy answer.)
Her: (sounding unconvinced) Well, I’ll look again.
Me: (smiling weakly) Gosh, I don’t know how that could have happened. Hmph. Weird.
People smile gently at me. And suddenly I feel like the Willy Loman of Y.A. Lit.
“ATTENTION MUST BE PAID!!!”
So I rush home, pull out the Book Review, and lo and behold if she isn’t right. They didn’t put it in. They didn’t even do me the courtesy of supplying me with a series of badges I could wear that say things like, “ASK ME ABOUT MY NYTIMES BESTSELLER!” or “NO REALLY, IT MADE THE LIST” or even the more prosaic, “LYING ASSHOLE WITH DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR.”
Grumble. Whine. I feel for all those people who win technical awards at the “special Academy Awards” presentation. Okay, I gotta run since my five-year-old is speaking to me in that nonstop Tourette’s stream of consciousness that demands an audience.