Today is Super Tuesday when voters in 13 states and American Samoa will go to the polls for Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses. The major party candidates may be solidified today.
It is also publication day for my debut novel, Oil and Marble.
I love that I’m sharing my publication day with Super Tuesday — or rather that Super Tuesday is sharing with me. For most of my life, I have been a political junkie. I worked on campaigns before I could vote, spent election night 2000 in the boiler room of the Gore campaign, and for 15 years produced news and political TV coverage for PBS and MSNBC.
I love politics in part because it’s a never-ending game. When a candidate wins an election, the battle doesn’t stop. The candidates who win today can’t celebrate for long; they still have to clinch the nomination. And as soon as they secure their spot as the official candidate, they will immediately turn to the general election. The winner of the general will have to get to the business of picking their cabinet, taking office, facing off against congress to move their agenda forward, and then winning more elections… And once these candidates are gone, new ones will take their places. The battle never ends. It is a constant turning of the tide — in, out, in, out, sometimes strong, sometimes light, but it never stops.
And I love that.
It’s like publishing. As soon as I got an agent, I had to get a publisher. Once a publisher bought my manuscript, I had to edit it. Then, I had to build an “author platform” and PR campaign. When I held my book in my hands, the journey could’ve felt complete, but it wasn’t; that’s when I had to start fighting for reviews… Then, the New York Times Sunday Book Review called my novel “tremendously entertaining,” and you might think that would be the top of the mountain, but instead, it just means I need to work even harder to capitalize on the momentum…
It’s like writing a novel. Every day I write, but writing is never done, so the next day, I have to write more. When the first draft is finished, I have to revise. And after the first revision, it’s just time to rewrite more and more and more and more… And when that book is complete, there’s another one to write. The work never ends — thank goodness — because I don’t know what I would do without it.
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our third anniversary twelve years later (we got married on Leap Day; this anniversary thing doesn’t roll around every year). I’m lucky to have married such a wonderful man because I am an overly ambitious workaholic who is oftentimes more focused on 16th century Italy than I am on him. It can’t be easy to put up with me obsessively working when he would rather be enjoying a day at the beach.
So, for our anniversary, I forced myself to take the day off (well, I still wrote on my next novel as I do every day, but I took the day off from PR), and we went for a walk along the beach. As we walked, I noticed something: On some steps, the sand was firm; those steps were easy. In other places, the wet sand was soft and my feet sank down deep; those steps were harder. Sometimes the tide didn’t roll in enough to wet my toes; other times the wave was so strong, it came up to my thighs — way too high for a cold February day.
That’s how it is in book writing, publishing, politics, life… Sometimes the steps are easy, sometimes they are hard, sometimes the water is too high, sometimes too low, but somehow, you keep moving step by step and eventually walk from pier to pier. But then, there’s always another stretch of sand, another corner, another pier… The work, the fight, the writing, the walk never ends.
Until it does.
So I choose to walk every day I’m here. I choose to fight for more. I never settle for what I have, but am always looking to take another step, write another sentence, turn this review into more, hold my next book, walk to the next pier…
Today is indeed Super Tuesday. The wave is coming and there is nothing I could — or would — do to stop it. I’ve worked hard to get here. THIS is the moment.
And yet, the work has just begun.