I just got some fabulous news. But to explain it, I have to give you a little back story. First, it’s been two years since I signed on with Sterling Publishing to publish my book about encaustic, Encaustic: A Guide to Creating Fine Art With Wax. At the time of signing my contract, the book was a baby fledgling, some words and lots of ideas, but not much else. I had been fussing over the manuscript for almost five years by that point, but I hadn’t taken it out into the world to make the book bigger than me. But within a year after signing the Sterling contract, I had interviewed and visited the studios of 60+ artists who work with wax, and the project had become a really big deal! By that point, people expected things of me, and I had made promises. The pressure of it all weighed heavily on me.
Then our current economic crisis hit. My book was originally supposed to come out this spring, but Sterling kept delaying and delaying and delaying…until I started to worry that this book wasn’t going to come out at all. I feared I would be left with a manuscript and hundreds of photos, but no book. So I started doing some serious praying. And I listened to my literary agent, who recommended that we cancel our contract with Sterling, toss the book back out into the publishing world, and hope that some more viable publisher would realize how truly awesome this book is.
But what a scary time! What if no other publisher was willing to go out on a limb and publish this book, which is so desperately anticipated by the encaustic community (I swear, I get about ten emails/day from artists all over the world asking me when they can buy it. We artists working with encaustic may be a small niche market, but damn, we’re committed and passionate!) What if I promised 60+ artists a book and had to resort to self-publishing in order to make it happen? About a month ago, in the midst of all this, I had a few dark nights of the soul, when I awakened at 3am and worried myself into a frenzy of doubt and panic and insecurity. Maybe the book isn’t all that. Maybe I’m not good enough to write it. Maybe the world doesn’t need it anyway and I’ve wasted six years of my life (and tens of thousands of dollars) fussing around with it. I broke into sweats at night, stared at the ceiling, and cried gasping, pathetic tears. It just didn’t seem fair. Two years ago, when I signed the Sterling contract, I felt blessed, as if the light of JABA (Jesus/Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Athena) was shining on me and affirming that I was walking the right path. But on those dark nights, I questioned everything. Maybe I didn’t even have a clue how to read JABA’s signs.
But my agent sent the book out anyway, in spite of the daily dreaded Dow reports and the sluggish publishing industry, and I decided to just believe, to put aside my fear and manifest the goodness I wanted in my life. If it works for The Secret
, why not for me? So I started affirming that my book would come to fruition, to serve as a beacon of light to all those frustrated artists out there trying to learn how to paint with wax. In my prayers, I envisioned the finished product, imagined waxy copies of the book straddled across art student work tables, and expressed gratitude to publishers for publishing my book. If nothing else, the majority of my fear melted away, and the dark nights stopped. I guess I really just surrendered it, releasing it from my control and letting it go.
This story has a happy ending. Yesterday, I got a call from my agent to say that Watson Guptill, a subsidiary of Random House, just bought my book, and it will be published in the summer of 2010. I’m bouncing off the walls right now with relief and sheer joy, because I just believe that this time, it’s true, and a little over a year from now, my book will be getting waxy in the studios of artists.
Why was I able to let go with this one little piece of my life when I cling to others like I’m drowning? I don’t know. Divine intervention, maybe. But it’s a lesson to me. By clinging to fear, all I do is suffer. By releasing fear, I have peace.