Folks, I’m nervous as hell about sharing my first novella—”Dwayne”—with the world.
It’s the story of a woman’s life turning upside down when a 15-ton boulder enters it. It’s unapologetically weird, but it’s also relatable. I think it’s pretty damn well written. I love it.
The Kickstarter to fund an e-book, a paperback, and an audiobook of the story launches on Tuesday, February 1.
And I am losing my absolute shit about it.
This story feels way more vulnerable than anything I’ve ever done.
That’s pretty strange, considering I’ve already published a book called Watching P(o)rn, in which I went into detail about my own personal experiences with adult entertainment and well beyond. Hell, I’ve modeled nude for art classes, go-go danced for tips and drinks, sat down with complete strangers to talk about their sex lives. I’m pretty comfy with a certain kind of vulnerability.
But “Dwayne” is making me more nervous, somehow, than all that combined.
There are a few reasons for that. One is that publishing fiction is my literal lifelong dream and I’m terrified I’ll fail at it.
Another is that the story is weird as hell. It doesn’t fit into any genre, really, but combines magical realism with absurdism with horror with literary fiction with, I dunno, Franz Kafka and Etgar Keret. Will anyone enjoy this? What if they don’t?
But probably the biggest source of my fear is as follows that I’m working through deep emotional wreckage in “Dwayne.”
Dwayne is an analogy for the pandemic.
I started writing this story about five years ago. Initially it was a story about feeling stuck, but boy howdy, I did not know the subject matter back then. When the pandemic hit, as an immune-compromised individual, I was forced into living in near-total lockdown for two years. That’s when I really sat down and started to work on “Dwayne.” Suddenly, I had the time and space to focus on writing about my feelings. In the form of a 15-ton hunk of granite.
I also had the time to really get comfortable with “stuckness” and isolation. And wow, do those two go together like peas and carrots.
Now, I’ve got a story about a lurking presence that shows up out of the blue one day, utterly disrupts a woman’s life, causes her to question everything she thought she knew about herself, her home, and the amount of control she has over both.
Really, I think the loss of control is the scariest part of the tory. Or, maybe even more dreadful—the loss of the illusion of control. That’s something that COVID has really shoved into our faces, isn’t it? The utter lack of control each of us has over our world.
But, like so many of us, she eventually gets used to it. Starts to feel secure in this new reality. But then the rock changes the equation by making an unexpected move. Which she adjusts to all over again. And then he makes another move.
Her resolve breaks. Her mental health crumbles. She alone, helpless, and completely unequipped to deal with her new-new reality.
Sounds familiar to anyone who’s been living through this pandemic, right? Sounds like me. Like I’ve been working through this awful experience by processing my feelings on my laptop. In fiction.
Now I’m asking the entire world to feel it with me.
By releasing this thing as an e-book, a paperback, and an audiobook that I’ll be reading. By asking interested parties to preorder it on Kickstarter. To go through it with me.
It’s scary and uncomfortable. An I’m more nervous than I can remember being.
But I’m doing it anyway, because if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught me, it’s that discomfort is just part of the process. What exactly that process is… Who am I to say?
And, honestly, the story is really good. I think you’ll really love it.