October 15, 2007
A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter
I'm a little nervous about this trip, of course. Despite the positive experience I've had all along with St. Martin's Press, I still worry about making an ass out of myself. It's a silly fear for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they already read my book, which is full of stories that don't necessarily make me look like the nicest, smartest or most emotionally stable person in the world, and their response was "Let's publish this, by golly!" They already know the embarrassing parts.
I also worry about dropping the ball and losing Schuyler on the streets of New York. This is also sort of silly since anyone who has ever spent time with the two of us can tell you that I am a fussy and twitchy father when I am flying as solo parent with Schuyler. When Julie is there, we spilt the freaking out duties, but Julie is entering her busy season at the book store (where, by the way, she has gotten permission to hold my very first appearance, which feels exactly right) an won't be with us. It's just me and Schuyler and all my worries.
When she was a baby, I had an irrational fear of taking her on the second floor of a mall, after all. I was convinced that some lunatic was going to run up to her stroller, grab her and toss her over the railing. I also thought big dogs would run up in the park and run off with her, wiggling sadly in their big slobbery jaws. I don't expect any New York misadventure to catch me off-guard, although just typing that sent a little wave of anxiety through me, heightening the spaz factor up another notch or two.
For Schuyler, this trip is about building memories for her. I have no idea how she'll feel about this book when she's older, although from what I know of her personality so far, I suspect she'll be more interested in the possibilities of helping other people than in whatever privacy issues might arise from the book. She's excited about it now; ask her about the book, and she'll either refer to it on her BBoW as "my monster" or "schuylers monster", which is especially fun since I don't believe I've ever referred to it by name to her. She's picked that up on her own.
But no matter how she feels about it down the road (perhaps she'll write the sequel, Schuyler's Dumbass: The Stuff My Father Got Wrong), at the very least, she will one day be able to look back and remember that her father's book gave her the opportunity, however brief, to step out of her monster's shadow and walk the streets of Manhattan like she owned the place. She'll have memories of the museums and the energy of the city and seeing the site of King Kong's last stand. She'll be able to remember going into the Flatiron Building to talk to fancy pants publishing folks about HER book like the literary figure she is.
She's earned this. Well, I think we both have, really.