I show up at my editors’ house at 7 p.m. When you’re with a small press on a two-city book tour, you don’t stay in a hotel. You stay at Jim and Kelly’s place on the second floor of a house directly under a flight path. But they grill ahi tuna on their balcony at sunset, point out the place down the street that used to be a crack house, the downtown buildings that eclipse the harbor. Their two-year-old son licks the slab of fish on Jim’s plate when he’s not looking.
“I think he wants a bite,” Kelly says.
They’re raising him one part Alternative Childrearing Philosophy, one part Laidback Bohemian. Which means, as Kelly explains during lunch the next day, “We bring him everywhere with us, and we usually forget to bring along any toys. So he has to be really engaged with the world around him.”
Jim and Kelly’s house is not quite a mess, but when I look for a place to set down my book, I cannot find a free patch of table or countertop. This is good—Kelly and Jim are professors, writers, publishers, parents and activists. If they were excellent housekeepers on top of that, I might have to hate them.
My book, the one I literally couldn’t put down—well, it exists. It can be annoying when writers compare their books to children, but they do have this in common: When I see it, with the cover Lee-Roy designed and a cute little ISBN on its spine, it is at once miraculous and unbelievable, and also something that always was and was always meant to be. Of course. Of course you are mine, little baby book. Look, you have my eyes.