Publishing is exposure, but not always the good kind.

Ever realize that your most desirable wishes come with your most dreaded fears?  Take money, for example.  Everyone wants money. We all wanna hit the jackpot. But if my husband burst in right now and said, “Darling!  I got a MILLION dollar raise today.  We’re rich!”, I guarantee I would fall asleep with a smile and wake up in a cold sweat. How is this going to effect our taxes? How are we going to preach to our kids about the benefits of a hard-knock upbringing when we’re buying them $100 dollar bed sheets in a custom-built home? Sure, it’s fine to say “oh, money won’t change us”, but when has that ever been true? Really? In retrospect, I would just be trading one wish for another. The grass may be greener, but it’s still grass.  You still gotta water it and cut it. Fertilize it. And who wants greener grass anyway?!  That shit’s hard to upkeep.

I sent my manuscript to an editor today (paid a pretty penny for it too, but only because I look at it as an investment). And that got me thinking about my ultimate wish to be published.  To have my work recognize in some way that, at this point, can only be described as a pipe-dream. I can’t imagine the overwhelming disbelief and elation I would get from seeing my book on a best-sellers list, or even just on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf. But that level of artistic exposure that I long for also comes with a level of exposure that feels much more personal. Much more revealing. I think about all the people in my life that don’t know me as anything else but a super sweet smiley mom that spends her free-time up at the school, sorting books and cutting out laminated hearts for the month of February. I don’t want to disappoint those people. My writing is not super sweet and its not smiley. My characters use the F word and they smoke pot and have sex and make bad choices. Speak ill of people, and they practically feed on their own self-loathing. I’m proud of my work, and I believe in its quality and voice, but I don’t want all those mom’s that I respect and admire to look at me like I’m a freak for painting a picture so unlike the person they’ve grown to like. I don’t want them to think I’m a liar. I’m not. I just don’t lay everything out on the table these days. Socially speaking, I keep myself at a distance. It’s easier that way. Less explaining to do.

Bottom line: I long to be published and dread to be exposed. I know that if my work leaks out enough, my social circle may or may not be divided into two halves-or worse, three: those who approve, those who object, and those who act one way but whisper another.

But hey.  Hopefully, I’ll be lucky enough to find out.