Water skiing naked.

The big news comes first: they’ve accepted it. It’s not a dream. 

You’re going to be a published author. 

Lots of people have supported you to that moment. You’ve talked with other writers, commiserated over copious amounts of coffee and far too many slices of cake. Your friends told you that you could do it. Your mom said you’ll be the next big thing. 

The process moves forward. You regale others with the steps, conversations, and you let loose with the jargon because you know the words now and you’re going to bandy them about like you’re a cowboy at the author rodeo. 

And then the next big day arrives: the book is in your hand. With your name on it, even. That long ago ex who once told you that you’d never be more than a mediocre writer? She can suck it. You’ve got a real book in hand. Your own. 

But then this weird thing starts to happen, and because you’re not prepared for it, you don’t see it right away. Slowly, though, that strange understanding seeps in… for all the support, for all the you-can-do-its and well-dones… few of your family, and even fewer of your friends, actually read it. 

But…but… this wasn’t supposed to be the way of it. Everyone who has ever known you would read it, right? Especially your bestie and your brother. Right? 

Turns out, not so. But you can’t badger. You can’t even bring it up more than once without sounding needy (and like you’re badgering). You know they haven’t read it. Worse, you’re pretty sure one or two folks might have, and they’ve simply refrained from saying anything. 

When you’re the thin-skinned type, this grand little bit of reality is a lot like getting on water skis for the first time. Behind a speedboat with a jet engine. It’s not pretty, and when your bathing suit comes off, you’re both exposed and out of control, but hanging on anyway with both sets of cheeks flapping in the wind.

Eventually, you lay back and accept you’re out on open water, mostly with people you’ve never met. Some of them are reading that thing you sweated over. Some of them are naked, too. (And you haven’t had time to read their books…) For the moment, that’s enough. Maybe it’s better if the people closest to you don’t read it. That way, you can stay friends (or family). And they’ll never know they’ve appeared on stage in your next book… 

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