Every author has hopes and dreams for their work. Some aspire to make a lot of money; others want only to see their name on the cover of the book. Some want to become international celebrities; others hope to fill their mantel with awards.
But there are other dreams as well. I would certainly like to make a lot of money from writing, though that hasn’t happened yet. My next book will be my seventh and it’s very different than the previous six. That presents its own challenges and opportunities: it’s the first book to consider the contributions of straight women in the AIDS community throughout the epidemic. My hopes are many:
That I know it’s the best book I could write.
That the people who are excited about it now will be even more excited after they read it.
That the people who demand to know “Why isn’t X in the book?” will encourage X to tell her own story.
That the stories will inspire other women to share their experiences, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
That it will fill a gap in the literature of the epidemic and women’s history.
That even people in the AIDS community will be surprised by what they read.
That everyone will learn something new.
That when they finish the book, they’ll want to learn more about the women and the epidemic.
That someone will be so deeply offended that they will ban the book from their library, school or bookstore. I don’t care if it’s because of the title or my criticism of Nancy Reagan, Mother Teresa and Elizabeth Dole. Just so it’s banned. Nothing helps sales like banning a book.
That the women in the book who are still alive will experience the recognition they so richly deserve.
Your hopes for your book will not be the same as mine. But whether you’ve just come up with an idea for a book or struggling with a plot twist or ready to publish, take a moment and make your own list. Write it down so you don’t forget. Be as specific as you want. Pull it out every now and then to help you stay on track.
I’m going to check on this list once a month, just to make sure I’m staying focused. Down the road, after the book has come out, I’ll report back on how many of these hopes were realized. I can’t wait to find out what happens.