There was a weird moment this afternoon when I was writing something and needed to dig out a reference from my book. (I do this a lot. It’s all there, the book has a lot of footnotes.) For a split second I started to follow the usual path on my hard drive to the final page proofs…. Click…. Pause….
Walk into living room, grab book off table, thumb through it. Yes, there it is, page 6, in the introduction.
I’ve been walking by the stack of books all weekend, reaching out and touching them, sometimes opening one up and reading a page.
During the flurry of attention around the release of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates at one point described the moment of terror when he was in the midst of the hard part of writing, when he realized the risk of abject public failure. To write a book is a deeply arrogant, deeply public act: “Please pay a substantial sum of money for what I have to say and spend hours reading it.” To fail at this is to fail in a very public way. I’m no Ta-Nehisi Coates, so my terror was of a different scale entirely, but it was no less real.
So I pick it up and I read a page and I’m pretty happy, and also relieved. It came out OK.
Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water in the West is available for pre-order, on the bookshelves at your favorite local bookstore Sept. 1.