Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Unstrung

funhome The UPS guy delivered a copy of my new book, “Fun Home” yesterday. In all my years of publishing books, I’ve never had a hardcover one. It’s pretty beautiful. The book designer and the cover designer did a very elegant job. I opened it with some trepidation, because whenever I look at a new book all I can see are the mistakes. And I did find one straight off, but it was a pretty minor continuity detail. I’m deeply pleased, but not elated, for some reason. I feel a bit like Mr. Earbrass, the protagonist of my favorite Edward Gorey book, The Unstrung Harp. When he spots a copy of his latest novel in the window of a bookseller’s, Mr. E. is overcome by “a state of extreme and pointless embarrassment.”
Comments:
Wow. Congratulations on hardcover. Quite the groundbreaking achievement.

I wouldn't sweat your lack of elation. Maybe it's the current state of the world or a perimenopausal thing, but I've found elation to be an elusive entity of late.

There's also something about working on a project for years and years that sets up unattainably-high emotional expections. (But you already know that.)

Or maybe it's just exhaustion.

In any case, like good wine and cheese, I bet Fun Home will only get better with age.

Ellen
 
I relate to the only seeing the mistakes part. I help produce a quarterly publication and EVERY TIME it comes out, the mistakes seem like the most obvious things.

I can't wait to see the book! I tend to keep my book collecting to a minimum, but Fun Home will definitely be an exception!
 
applause

VL
 
Cool! The next step is your first sighting of it in a bookstore ;) I haven't published in the main?stream press like you, but what you describe is sort of like finishing a thesis or dissertation...anticlimactic to say the least. The process is what really drives the writing - the end product in a way seems so "little".

At any rate, I'm looking forward to it! Sara
www.saraskates.typepad.com
 
Given the subject matter I could see elation being a slow emotion to build vs. embarassment. But maybe after all your relatives have checked in, one day you'll see a big stack of them sitting in front of you at a book signing and a big line of people waiting to buy them & then you'll feel elated.
 
This is good news. I'm really looking forward to it. I even ordered one online from an evil corporation, just to get one locked in -- which means I'll have to buy one at my local bookstore anyway, out of Mo-like guilt.
--MC
 
I can't wait to own it.
 
Happy new book and ditto on the "can't wait" until it shows up here.

I still remember picking up my first copy of DTWOF in Cambridge (at New Words) probbaly 20 years or so ago and still enjoy reading it today, even more so. This new endeavor looks to be even more special.
 
Can't wait to get it, congratulations Alison.
It looks gorgeous from here. Alison Earbrass has a nice ring to it.
 
congratulations!! i am so looking forward to reading it.

lack of elation is quite nerve-wracking. i got the okay to hand in my dissertation a few days ago, and ended up feeling really upset because i wasn't elated and felt like i should be, and wanted to know why in the hell i wasn't. ah dear.

i hope the elation hits you soon, and, if it doesn't, you learn to accept its strange absence.
 
Congratulations!

Just read the article about you in "Bitch" and am salivating over the release of Fun Home. Can hardly wait for June to arrive.

Have read many artists/authors who's reaction to publication/shows/etc. are exactly like yours. Ironic, no? Spend so much time creating pieces/manuscripts, only to feel deflated once they're on display.
 
Hi --

Could you get Powells to put a few less spoilers on their blurb page for your book?? The "review" is a real problem. Thanks,
 
Hi,

Long time reader of DTWOF. Just ordered Fun Home. Have you ever been to comic con in San Diego? Are you going to be at the one coming up in July? I would love to get my copy signed!
 
holy crap! i had no idea it would be such a hefty tome. mazel tov!

the book's completion makes me realize just how long i've been gone from vermont. sigh. hope all's well on the mountain.

*tania

ps. my favorite Gorey is The Curious Sofa.
 
I read in an interview you gave to afterellen.com that you were going on a book tour, starting in June. Where can we find out where and when you will be appearing? Congratulations on your new book.

Dana in CA
 
AB,
It sounds like the accomplishment will take time to sink in. Try not to push yourself to be "perfectly self-actualized about it all" (a la Mo and her bathing suit blues). Do something else that you enjoy doing anyway, and maybe elation over the book will sneak up on you.

(Oh yeah -- congratulations!)

Jaibe,
The Publisher's Weekly review on the Powell's site does reveal a lot, doesn't it? The Powell's marketing department would likely want to know that some Bechdel fans consider it a spoiler.

Their e-mail address is Marketing/PR: marketing@powells.com.

The toll-free customer service line is Toll Free: (800) 291-9676.
 
Hey Alison -

Congratulations! I'm looking forward to reading "Fun Home." And your comment about "The Unstrung Harp" struck a chord - I read it for the first time last summer at the Gorey museum in Yarmouthport, Mass. Have you been there? I stood in the library reading it and laughing with a sick kind of writer's recognition.

Best wishes with the book!
Paula (formerly known as Paoul)
 
Congratulations!

I'm married to a novelist, and half our friends are writers of something or other, and from my observations The Unstrung Harp is the single most perfect description of writing a novel I have ever encountered.

Also, nearly as funny as DTWOF.
 
Congratulations!

I wouldn't sweat the lack of elation, especially if you're decompressing from the whole process. There's only so much adrenalin to go around.

Like amysue I have fond memories of New Words from my Massachusetts days -- and happily wear the signed T-shirt you did for their 25th year. Learned recently that they've moved to the YWCA building.

Am adding The Unstrung Harp to Fun Home on my Must Order List. Another novel that hits the writing process on the nail for me is Ursula Hegi's Intrusions.
 
Congratulations.

Must get a copy.
 
Allison--I work for a book agent and your galley arrived late last week as a gift to my Boss. While Boss isn't into the graphic-novel trend, so I snatched it up and am devouring FUN HOME. As a recent college grad who hopes to continue my education through cultural criticism (someday...through a Master's maybe?), I find your book pivotal in its blending of literary and visual strength.

Bravo!

Will there be more?
 
there will be an italian translation, I hope. :-)
 
I also came upon an "Advance Reading Copy" and could tell I was missing something without the duotone (highlighted text, for instance), but I devoured the book over the weekend and it's great. I look forward to reading it again in the less error-riddled version.
 
I have been working at two bookstores in the twin cities. One is the bookstore that DTWOF is based upon. I also went to the same college as you. Today, while working, I read your new book. Good news: it's been flying off the shelves. And I just put a copy on the staff picks shelf. I really enjoyed (I don't think "enjoyed" is the right word) the new book. Your drawings are amazing as always and the story is so poingnant. Thanks for opening up your world to so many people including me.
 
i got my hardcover today. i am halfway through and it is brave and funny and terrific. i am so glad to be able to thank you in this public forum for your work!

the diary entries are especially wonderful. reminded me of my own, down to the TV show mentions.
 
It is a truly gorgeous book, with the silver on the cover and the hot orange peeping through the die-cuts. And the inside is only better.

I've been reading your stories since the Wimmen's Comix "Little Girls" issue, and I sought out the DTWOF books not long after. I expected to be disappointed in "Fun Home," for how could it live to the standards you've set for yourself.

But it does. Thank you
 
I just bought a copy yesturday. I am about halfway through and it is amazing.
 
Alison,

It was great read. Very brave. I had to wait for the second printing to get my reserved copy from McNally in NYC. I was weirdly proud of you for selling out there. I don't know you but, like millions of others, your stories were there to sustain me during my 20-something Icarian leaps. Thank you -- again.
 
Alison, you may not have been elated (for all those complex reasons that one's emotional responses to major events are never quite what one expects...), but the book is great. Really great.

I'm just reading it now and I find it completely compelling. You've managed to derail my work on my dissertation for an entire day, which is mildly alarming to me, but you should take that as the highest compliment. Your portrait of family life is riveting and awful--and highly recognizable. I cannot put it down.

I'll get back to work tomorrow... In the meantime, many thanks.
 
Alison, it's wonderful. We just got it reviewed in England and i sent for it straight away. I can't tell you how it affected me. Like I said, it's wonderful.
 
I have never posted to a blog - so I am not sure how to do it. I just read your book, Fun Home, and felt compelled to write to you. It was truly wonderful. A friend gave it to my husband and he loved it too. He was amazed that you could write so candidly about your family - he is a writer and he would die before he would write anything about his parents [he is horified that his mom will somehow stumble across anything he would write about his dysfunctional family,like the character in Catcher in the Rye who thought his mother could fly through the air and see him in the schoolroom]. Anyway, he loved it and passed it on to me. You are just an amazing writer and illustrator. Your view of your dad was so multi-faceted and touching. You are charmed to have had such a childhood and to have had the good fortune to journal it to inspire all of us someday.

C. Crice, Austin
 
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