I was wearing a gorgeous gown fit for a faery princess. A wonderful ball was being thrown in my honor, attended by all the people I most loved and respected. Delicious food and wine flowed unendingly. There was even cake, the absolute tastiest cake you could imagine. The man I loved most in the world had just promised to spend the rest of his life with me.
And I couldn't take it anymore. I ran away in the middle of a conversation, hid in the dressing room, stared at myself in the mirror, despaired of my existence, and cried.
Yes, it was my wedding.
Why did I cry? Because I was afraid it was too good to be true--love can't really last forever, can it? So I was just setting myself up to be destroyed. Because life goes by so fast, and then we wither and wrinkle and die. I still felt like a child, but here it was my wedding...before I knew it I would be staring into an old woman's face, and into death. Because I loved my wedding dress and wanted to wear it forever, but now I had to change into another (also gorgeous) dress. Because no matter how much you want to, you can't wear your wedding dress every day.
A release day is like your birthday or your wedding. You're surrounded by friends, you're getting presents, and you know you should be happy--and you are, you very much are--but never as happy as you feel you ought to be. Any little thing that goes wrong feels like the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco.
There's plenty of emotion, including joy. But not limited to joy. There's also anxiety, guilt, worry, despair at the transience of our own mortality (obviously, right?) and sheer terror.
At least, that's how it is for me. I had a great release day--Wing reached #6 on Amazon's Hot New Fantasy Releases--and I have all of you guys to thank for that. I don't want anyone to think I don't appreciate it. I do.
So don't take it the wrong way if I confess that I spent half my release day swimming in joy and the other half fighting off an oil spill of black, sick depression. Admitting it, writing this, is actually helping me through it, as I can see how the two are intimately connected. High expectations, a long period of stress and the sheer terror of releasing my new book into the world, it's all rolled together.
On my wedding day, my mom and my friends left me to myself in the dressing room for a while, as I requested, then came in, hugged me, re-touched my make-up for me, helped me zip up the new dress, and shoved me back out the door into the ballroom. There, while everyone watched and cooed, I danced with my true love to the strains of La Vie En Rose.