Two nights ago I turned in the final final final final edit of Juliet Takes a Breath to my publisher. I think I had like seven mild attacks of panic and spiritual heart failure before I clicked send.
Who the f*ck do I think I am trying to publish a book? I’ve been navigating impostor syndrome, a full-time job, all the edits, some unexpected health issues, and the chaos of New York City all in anticipation of its release. It hasn’t been easy. It makes me want to hide and pretend like I didn’t write a book at all, like maybe I just tried to do a thing and then hahaha, nevermind.
That voice tho, I need to check that voice in 2016.
If I can’t love and support my work, then who can? Who will? No one.
I worked at Strand bookstore for like half a second last year in the YA section. I’ll never forget the day that two young queer Latinas came in asking why there wasn’t enough L in the LGBT section. And homegirl was like, “And by L, I mean lesbian and latina, there isn’t shit about us in that section.” That interaction gave me so much fuel to keep pushing through to finish this book and gave me reason to feel strong in my sense of purpose, because those two girls should have a million books to choose from, not just mine.
There’s no room to be shy, or to doubt myself. There is only room to put Juliet Takes a Breath out into the world and set her free.
I’m going to write more about this whole book writing thang in an upcoming piece for Autostraddle! (So keep your eyes and ears glued to your phones, per ushe.) But I wanted to drop some love here and some words about what’s going on.
Some graphics were made:
And I made a video in the freezing ass cold for you! No edits because like ugh.
And if you’re still curious, here’s a fucking excerpt. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.
(Actually, I love you and I hope you like it.)
I’ve got a secret. I think it’s going to kill me. Sometimes I hope it does. How do I tell my parents that I’m gay? Gay sounds just as weird as feminist. How do you tell the people that breathed you into existence that you’re the opposite of what they want you to be? And I’m supposed to be ashamed of being gay, but now that I’ve had sex with other girls, I don’t feel any shame at all. In fact, it’s pretty fucking amazing. So how am I supposed to come out and deal with everyone else’s sadness? “Sin Vergüenza Comes Out, Is Banished From Family.” That’s the headline. You did this to me. I wasn’t gonna come out. I was just gonna be that family member who’s gay and no one ever talks about it even though EVERYONE knows they share a bed with their “roommate.” Now everything is different.
How am I supposed to be this honest? I know you’re not a Magic 8 Ball. You’re just some lady that wrote a book. I fall asleep with that book in my arms because words protect hearts and I’ve got this ache in my chest that won’t go away. I read Raging Flower and now I dream of raised fists and solidarity marches led by matriarchs fueled by café con leche where I can march alongside cigar-smoking doñas and Black Power dykes and all the world’s weirdos and no one is left out. And no one is living a lie.
Aight, enough, there’s more to come.
Stay warm out there, babes.