Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...
Courtney E. Martin
Book Tour Blog: The Conception
4 Comments | posted March 26th, 2007 at 08:39 pm by Courtney E. Martin

Writing a book is kind of like having a baby. (Disclaimer: I’ve never had a baby.) At least that’s what I imagine.

I sold the concept, more accurately, my awesome agent Tracy Brown who is kind of like a mix between an absent-minded professor and a matchmaker, sold the concept. Simon & Schuster’s Free Press declared their love for Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters (a title my brilliant dad came up with!) in April 2005.

I woke up the next morning and realized I actually had to write the damn thing. Which I imagine—again with no prior experience—is kind of like waking up and realizing that the thing you’ve wanted has come true, that you are responsible for carrying a frickin’ human being inside of your belly for the better part of a year.

I spent the next nine months of my life (no joke) feverishly researching, interviewing, reading, and occasionally freaking out.

Ah yes, I am a perfect girl, so anxiety is quickly channeled into overzealous ambition and a sometimes unhealthy bevy of activity.

What kept me sane? On Thursdays, I met my writing-partner-in-crime—Jennifer Gandin Le at the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room, where we set up our laptops across the table from one another and committed to an eight hour day just like the rest of the world. The hours weren’t so hard given our lingering (two hour) lunch breaks on the lawn of Bryant Park, but we went through some pretty nasty and necessary withdrawal without wireless internet. I also have an amazing writer’s group that feeds me pizza and tells me I’m brilliant on a regular basis. I do the same for them, don’t worry.

I got my best work done either at the library or hiding in my parents’ adobe house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Curled up by their kiva fireplace, I would write like crazy, stopping only to inhale the sandwiches they silently set beside me at meal times. They are probably the best human beings alive, preventing me from ever writing a can-you-believe-how-nutty-my-parents-were memoir like (Barnard graduate!) Janette Wall’s amazing The Glass Castle. Poor me.

After nine months, I had a massive word document that was supposedly a book. I still didn’t believe it, though friends seemed duly impressed by the number of pages. The second I sent it in, I got in my parent’s hybrid and drove on I25 for awhile singing at the top of my lungs and smiling to myself.

My meticulous editor, Leslie Meredith, edited the shit out of those pages, but only after her devilishly handsome and very funny assistant, Andrew Paulson (yes, it reminded me of Fight Club too), printed them out. I guess that makes Leslie my dula or something and Andy, well, Andy is probably something like the head of the nursery.

Baby is born, baby cries, must be fed, changed, held, loved. Book is born, book is edited, must be revised, re-edited, re-revised, designed, copyedited, finalized, praised.

And now we’re pushing that little baby out of the nest. I’m mixing metaphors, but you get the point. I feel like a proud momma. Who knows what she’ll become.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2007 at 8:39 pm and is filed under Court's Book Tour. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 4 responses

  1. Like having a baby: like inventing: you are afraid that you won’t ever have another good one.

    Unlike having a baby, you can stop any time….

    March 27th, 2007 | 1:42 am
  2. Joie Jager-Hyman

    Court, I love this entry and how proud you are of the book! You deserve to feel this way and I can’t wait to read it. May you birth a best-seller!

    March 27th, 2007 | 12:37 pm
  3. I know what you mean. I felt like I gave birth when I handed in my book and then got disappointed when no one else in my life felt the weight of it. There’s something about paper that doesn’t quite compare to the softness of new skin. Maybe if I had babies I would feel different, maybe I wouldn’t make the comparison in the first place. I wonder if men feel this birthing sensation. Anyway, I know how you feel, and I am so proud of you and all of your hard work and all the love you put into your book. When I cradled your book in my arms last night, I wasn’t joking. I’m going to make a damn good aunt. I won’t be able to shut up about your book. xo, Kimmi

    March 28th, 2007 | 7:47 pm
  4. I am so damn proud of you. I know those nine months in the NYPL were excruciating and difficult, but in my mind, they were also utopian and beautiful. You have birthed something into this world that will bring light and hope to many, many people. I can’t wait to see where this baby goes!

    April 4th, 2007 | 12:11 pm

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