After years of writing, and even more years of editing, my collection of short stories and essays, Honest Mistakes, is finally finished.
We held our book release event in Richmond Sunday night and online sales are now up for those who couldn’t make it to the party.
After having worked for so long on this project, I am unsure of what to say that I haven’t already said in the pages of the collection itself, so here is an excerpt from my preface:
This feels more like an exorcism than a publication. The eight stories and two essays in this collection were mostly written between 2008 and 2011, and have spent the intervening years in a purgatory of editing and rewriting, returning at intervals like the Ghost of King Hamlet to plague a hopeless procrastinator. My tendency for perfectionism and my ego have been the biggest roadblocks to setting these pieces — and perhaps more importantly, myself — free.
Those of us who are great and intense lovers of literature and whose lives have been so impacted by great writing feel daunted by our own high standards. We fear that we are publishing something that we ourselves would not find worthwhile, subpar by the standards that we set for our own bookshelves. Perhaps that is too generous an excuse and it is regard for my reputation that has stalled this project for so long. Publishing a collection of older pieces, especially with so many nonfiction elements, requires a degree of vulnerability that I didn’t know I lacked until now. It has made me appreciate all the more writers like Thomas Wolfe who turned the intimate details of their lives into great works of demi-fiction. Strangely enough, I feel a great responsibility to the writers that I love. If I spend my life reading Shakespeare and Faulkner, I should be able to write well, and if I don’t then I, the prodigal son, have squandered my inheritance.