Friday, December 31, 2010

I wish I could tell you ...

And now, a personal confession.

I don’t think of myself as someone with many friends. I had to pinch myself the first time I realized I had to choose which friends to invite to a social event—I was amazed that I had so many friends that their interests no longer overlapped closely. (Translation: I had three friends at once!) Even now, I deeply distrust Facebook’s assessment of my social life—how can I possibly have more than 100 friends? Most are mere acquaintances.

For a long time, Masks has been my friend. I got to know Rae’s wry humor and her penchant for complaining about her life even as she did amazing things with it. It took me a while to get past Trevor’s stoicism (does that boy ever talk?), but one day I realized that he wanted a place to belong just as badly as I did, and since then we’ve been pretty tight. The rest of the cast is in there, too—John Lawrence’s idealism, Captain Catastrophe’s lust to prove himself, the Masked Rider’s bittersweet mixture of pride and grief. I wouldn’t have written so much about these characters if I didn’t love them as my friends.

And now, particularly in the year since I started this blog, I realize that I’ve come to consider all of you my friends, too. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never so much as exchanged two words with most of you—your support for the characters I love makes you part of my family.

I regret that I haven’t been able to tell you guys everything that’s been going on with the book this year. (In fact, it seems like most of my messages about what’s been going on with the book begin with some variant of the phrase, “I can’t tell you the details.”) There are some complications involved, mostly having to do with the nature of the publishing industry and my desire to prove myself a mature, reliable person who doesn’t blab personal business all over the internet. (Why I started a blog just to not blab personal business all over the internet I’ll never know.) So instead of the year-in-review entry you were probably expecting, I’ll give you what few specifics I can offer and a lot of generalities to try to give you the big picture.

There has been a lot of movement on the book in the last 12 months. Some of it has been encouraging. Some of it has not. There has been quite a bit of shrieking and punching the air, and a fair amount of sniffling miserably into a stuffed animal’s fur. People who know me tell me I’m unusually good at waiting (actually, the phrase they use is “I would’ve killed someone by now”), but this has been a stressful year even so. Even if I hadn’t had the book to worry about, I had enough personal crises to deal with even before I accidentally stabbed myself in the leg in November. (Actually, that was sort of a fun crisis, because the humor of the situation immediately presented itself.) I pride myself on being the sort of person who slogs through crises—I have been known to meet writing deadlines even while running a brain-cooking fever—but this year required a really ridiculous amount of slogging.

And it’s mostly thanks to you guys that I made it through the slog.

Your comments on the blog and the Facebook page, your enthusiastic participation in the contests, your somewhat cultish recruitment of all your friends and loved ones to support the book (Mr. Olson’s minions, I’m a little scared of you) … it’s meant the world to me.

I used to believe that I would happily keep writing only as long as I was amusing myself, but now I find I’m writing just as much for you, my unlikely, widely scattered family. You believed in my characters even when I didn’t, and so far you’ve been consistently right.

So thank you. Thank you for helping me survive the year from hell, thank you for supporting this book even when it felt insane to ask you to do so, and thank you for reminding me over and over again that storytelling is a collaborative act—and that I have some of the best collaborators I could ask for.

May you all be abundantly blessed in the coming year (and may we all go a full annum without getting stabbed this time).

Until next year, remember to always run toward the screaming …