Against the backdrop of all that’s so very wrong in the world, the release of my novel seems inconsequential, and celebrating its release, vain and insensitive. But then I’m reminded of how much the Arts have contributed to my life, how much I’ve benefited from music, literature, and the visual arts. The Arts have made me better, have taught me and made me feel and think and question and understand and rage and weep like a lunatic; they have, as I’ve stated before, enriched my life, as I’m sure they have so many others.
But even that knowledge doesn’t dispel my doubts and concerns, because there is another, more insidious issue just beneath the surface: my inability to attribute to my own work the value I see in the work I cherish. Sure, Art enriches life, but perhaps my book isn’t quite good enough to qualify as Art, because (this is the underlying fear) I’m not good enough to qualify as an Artist. To which I now choose to say, BULLSHIT!
I’ve been suffocating for long enough under the weight of the fear that I am not talented, artistic, under the stifling encumbrance of the “Who do you think you are?” syndrome, and I just don’t want it anymore. And so, I am going to kick off that burden and attempt to view my novel the way I might if someone else had written it, at least long enough to write this damned announcement. Then, if I really need to, I can sink back into the hell I know so well.
So please join me in celebrating the March 11th release of Ways of Leaving at Tolani on, well, March 12th (because I want to be sure).