As this is my first book, and in many ways the first serious diversion from what has been my normal working life in a decade, there are some new emotions afoot. I suspect I’m hardly unique. But on the one hand I’m dying to talk about my book, and yet on the other there’s this weird emotion like the book is my private thing. I’ve been living with it, breathing it, thinking about it and writing about it in almost total solitude. With the exceptions of Adam Bellow, my editor, and my wife, I haven’t shared much of any of this with anyone, except at the very end when I showed the manuscript to a few people, in whole or in part. Pretty much every day I would head down into my basement office before dawn and work on this for hours before or after trying to bang out a column. Every weekend I’d disappear for long stretches. I took it with me on every vacation, every business trip. I’d always be thinking about it, always be worried about it. Anyway, you get all that. As mostly every author I’ve ever known will tell you: writing books is a very lonely process.
What’s weird is that now that it’s going public for all the world to see, there’s this surpring emotional pull for me to keep it a secret. I wonder if Big Bird felt this way when all of a sudden everyone got to play with snuffeluphagus? Hey, he’s my special friend, he’s my secret companion! The image in my mind that pops up the most, however, is Wilson the Volleyball in Cast Away. That inanimate object becomes Tom Hanks’ only companion. Poor Wilson dies at sea of course. But imagine if he’d made it back to civilization with Hanks? Even sympathetic people wouldn’t be able to grasp the complexity of Hanks’ feelings for that silly ball. You don’t get it, would be his response to almost every question. That’s sort of how I feel every time even open-minded strangers ask me to explain what I mean by “liberal fascism.”
I should say that none of this is my primary state of mind by any stretch. My first desire is to sell the book, get a discussion going, prove that this was all worth it and maybe get credit card company employees to stop wandering around my house and taking stuff at will. But this feeling is still there and it really surprises me.
UPDATE: From a reader: