I love you.
I know, you must be thinking the holiday season has gone to my head, pumping me with Hallmark joy and wrapping-paper cheer. Or that I’m promiscuous — a floozy who hops too easily from one love interest to the next: The job publicizing businesses, the job publicizing authors and books. The kids, the family, the stolen time writing fiction here and there and the regular hook-ups with voice lessons, ballet and yoga classes. When you look at it that way, I guess it does sound kind of shady.
But truth be told, it’s my work with authors that holds it all together, giving purpose and meaning to the rest. Staying faithful to only business PR would be like coming home from the office each evening only to slip into a suit and a tie. Singing, dancing and downward-dogging are nice treats, but at my age, well, they tend not to go very far. As for family life, don’t we all need a little something on the side? And when it comes to fiction, this once-obsession has evolved into a healthier partnership in which prose and story ideas inform and inspire everything I do but no longer define or possess me night and day.
Still don’t believe me? Maybe that’s because in good writerly style you fear that nobody will love you, not even me. Or maybe you’re so wrapped up in your characters’ lives and ways that you don’t notice some of the most endearing aspects of your own. So let me tell you a bit about why working with you is such a joy:
- You bring me your hopes and dreams, entrusting me with the delicate but immensely rewarding task of helping shape them.
- You come as you are, no suits or ties, no rhetoric or jockeying for power. If you’re nervous or doubtful, you tell me. You don’t pretend.
- You know how to laugh at yourselves, at me, at your agents, your editors, and to share that laughter until together we’re wiping tears from our eyes.
- When I ask probing personal questions in order to get to the heart of a blog post or article you’ve drafted, you dig deep, searching for — and giving – your most honest, often painful answer, bringing us both to tears for real.
- Your boundaries between professional and personal life are refreshingly thin. We have conversations while you nurse babies, get your car fixed or your nails done and even when you’ve just given birth. You’ve shared the story of that birth and have introduced me to your spouse, your parents, your siblings and kids, making me feel like part of the family.
- You talk dirty, walking me unflinchingly through your books’ scenes of sniffing panties in dark closets, masturbation, the thrills of discovering same-sex dating and cheating on a spouse.
- You talk writing: voice and narrative, drafts and revisions, word choice, structure and plot – stirring up that passion for me all over again and making it an exhilarating part of each day’s work.
- We have fun together, meeting up for coffee on the fly, drinking too much wine at launch parties and banging out emails so fast when press requests come in that we can hardly remember what the point was in the first place.
- One of you is a friend from childhood. In junior high and high school — long before the days of texting — we used to stay up late at night gabbing on the phone, comparing bra sizes, crushes and all sorts of firsts. Brought back in touch by Facebook, we haven’t met in person since 1984 but now, even when we talk about the scenes of death and illness in your memoir, we somehow wind up giggling.
And I guess that’s what it comes down to in the end: Camaraderie and friendship — a rare breed of each I’ve rarely found anywhere else. Because like flings, publicity campaigns may start and end, but long after they’ve finished you, Authors, remain dear friends for everything we’ve shared.