My novel The Edge of Maybe is now available for order! You can get a copy — signed and inscribed to you by me — at The Edge of Maybe website.
Here’s a tiny taste of the book. It’s near the beginning, when the mother, Kira, is about to tell her 13-year-old daughter, Polly, some very difficult and life changing news:
Kira took a deep breath. That pause before lake ice gave way underfoot; when lips moved towards each other for the first kiss; when the knife stuck on the bread crust before skittering across to slice into an index finger; when teeth tested the tension of pomegranate seeds before their decisive crunch. She exhaled and spoke softly into Polly’s brown curly hair smelling of sweat and tea rose conditioner.
“Amber is your half-sister. She’s Daddy’s daughter, from a long time ago.”
Early reviews are stellar, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with the world.
To “merch” or not to “merch, that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler to languish in obscurity and maintain a strong authorial distance and literary reputation far above the commercial fray…. Or say Fuck it! and offer the cool apron and ironic water bottle imprinted with pithy sayings from the novel available NOW!
I think you know my answer:
I think that any buzz is good biz.
I think it’s fun to design merch and post it. I think I’d rather have you buy a book than an apron, but hey, why not both.
I think, let the writing in the book stand for itself.
So order a mug. Order an apron. And don’t forget to pre-order a signed-by-me-premium-edition of The Edge of Maybe and get it shipped as soon as it’s published.
Hey, anybody know how/where I can get Action Figures made? I’m thinking….
Kira with her yoga mat.
Adam with a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a bottle of Percodan.
Polly with a razor blade and a stuffed animal.
Oh, you need to read the book for that to make sense.
Part of a series of blog posts about the-story-behind-the-story of my forthcoming novel (March, 2012), The Edge of Maybe.
Where did this book begin?
I began this book with Polly. In the early 2000s, I wrote a short story called “Fair Game,” about the friendship of two eight-year-old girls named Polly and Nell. In it, Nell and her mother, Lindsey, find the body of a teenage girl on the stairs to their house, and Lindsey muses about what will happen to the girls and their friendship when they get older:
Polly spends the night Saturday. “Can we make a shrine for the dead girl?” Nell asks. Polly, behind her, nods vigorously. In between holding Squeaky and Bluebell and snacks they create the shrine. A shoebox, collaged and painted and glued. Feathers and glue and glitter and magazine pictures of girls like princesses, models, fairies. The girls they want to be. It’s beautiful.
When they bring it down the long stairway, somebody’s already been there. A Mylar Pooh balloon, a vase of pink chrysanthemums: We miss you, Cheri. Rest in heaven. Mom. The girls place their shrine next to the flowers. “Come on, Polly,” Nell shouts, running back up the stairs, scooping up a neglected yellow rubber duck. “Let’s teach Duckie to float.”
“Fair Game” became a long short story, then shrank and became a short short story, and then was published by a (now-defunct) literary journal called Pindlyboz, and then sank to the back of my files.
But the character of Polly, and Polly’s family situation, stayed with me. I was interested in what happened to a child whose family faced the question of “maybe” family members.
The characters in “Fair Game” became the seeds of the characters in The Edge of Maybe, five years later in their lives. Only now do I realize how Nell and Polly’s experiences mirror each other; In “Fair Game,” Nell and her mother find a dead girl on the stairway; in The Edge of Maybe, Polly and her mother find a very live girl – a maybe relative – on theirs.
But even before that, where did this book really begin?
Do you mean the impetus behind the book? I began with two questions: “What makes a family a family?” and “What do we owe the people in our lives?”
Yes, the story for The Edge of Maybe began with “Fair Game,” and Polly and Nell. But looking even deeper into my own family, I realize how many times these questions have come up in my own life, and how these themes run through much of my work: Hidden family members. Issues of claiming and not claiming. Questions of responsibility to the people in our lives.
Through exploring these themes in writing — especially in The Edge of Maybe — I’ve come to a deeper understanding of my own history, and the changing nature of my answers to those questions.
The Edge of Maybe is forthcoming from Last Light Studio in March, 2012. Watch this space for pre-order information, coming SOON.
Advance Review Copies of The Edge of Maybe have just arrived! I’m ridiculously gleeful. First, the champagne. Then, the promo machine gets to march into action, sending them out to movers and shakers and reviewers and other important peeps.
It’s a very exciting moment, seeing the book as a book (even if the cover isn’t exactly the way it will be). It’s a book. I have no words. I am so, so grateful. Thank you so much, Last Light Studio, for giving me this opportunity and believing in this book.
And for the rest of you… The book will be published in MARCH! Stay tuned for preorder information, a fancy new website, etc.
It’s a medical term, “brain fog,” and it’s a symptom of thyroid disease.
This past Spring, in the throes of hyperthyroidism (caused by the horrifically named Graves Disease), I was aware that I was brain foggy, but too foggy to know how foggy I was.
A few examples: I often do Sudoku puzzles, and I’m pretty good at them. But it took me twice as long on average to complete one. Also, I had a hard time reading, and especially reading instructions, so I made a lot of stupid mistakes. Even recipes were a bitch. “Shit. I needed three eggs!” and doubling or halving recipes was completely baffling.
All this is a very long introduction to the fact that I completely messed up requesting permission to use a certain Rumi poem in my forthcoming novel The Edge of Maybe. Oh, I filled out the online form. But it wasn’t until three months later, i.e. yesterday, when the final, final manuscript has long been set in stone, when the book is in the middle of layout, that I, with my slightly-less brain-fogged head, realized that this particular request for permission was supposed to be snail mailed. The online form I’d filled out was for something completely other, and had ended up who knows where. I would have to start again, if I wanted to use the Rumi poem. And getting permission rights takes a few months. I don’t have a few months.
Now, this Rumi poem is not an epigraph or something optional in the book. It forms a key plot point. It’s on a card sent by a yoga teacher (the type who would quote Rumi, or Khalil Gibran, or Paul Coelho) to a yoga student. I needed to find a substitute right quick.
So last night, I wrote one. A substitute. It had to be the exact same length as the Rumi poem I couldn’t use – 74 words – and it had to include some words that are referred to in later dialogue in the novel. It took me about 15 minutes to write. I threw in some peacocks and Beloveds. It was great fun.
This morning, I posted it on Twitter and Facebook and asked for help identifying a possible author:
“Okay, folks, help me out here. Any guesses who wrote this?
“Open wide your heart, Lover, as you would open the window to the shining day. In the courtyard below, the peacock’s blue tail spreads wide. The peahen saunters brown. Fling yourself through the love window, Beloved. I will catch you. I would join with you as flame joins flame, in a single surge of light, of heat. Heart to heart, and all around the world fades away. Open the love window.”
I just wanted to see if it would pass.
The votes (mostly from other writers):
Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Rumi, Hafiz, Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Song of Songs, Rumi
Nobody said: “Oh, some horrible new age poet who is trying to sound like Rumi.” Nobody said, “Ericka, you wrote it, can’t fool us!” So, I guess I have a future writing fake ancient Persian love poetry, if this novel writing gig doesn’t work out.
In other news, brain fog is part of what I’m blaming for my long hiatus from blogging. I’m not flinging myself out the window of bloggy love, here, but with The Edge of Maybe on the edge of happening (March 2012), I’m opening the door just a crack.
This week AOL’s ParentDish featured my opinion piece on my daughter’s dropping out of high school. (Technically she didn’t drop out, she took the California High School Proficiency Exam — but since some people consider her a drop out, I used the term).
And the comments came flooding in. Over 500 of them. And many many sweet letters. Both Annie and I feel tremendously moved by the support — and know enough to ignore the naysayers who compare her to Lindsey Lohan and call me every name in the book.