It is a jittery place, knowing that your book is out there, and that strangers are reading it. North of the Tension Line is off press and ready to ship, so any errors in editing are now permanent. But the hundreds of Advance Reading Copies are out there like little seeds, taking root or dying. There are so many things to worry about, but they are all things that are stupid to worry about, because they are beyond my control. I can’t make people like the book. I can’t re-read anymore and correct. I can only wait, and hope. And try not to wait and hope.
As any writer knows, you put your heart out there and hope that no one stomps it.
It will be a good night for a long romp with dogs. And possibly a cocktail.
My sister and I needed a little break from the melancholy task of closing my late mother’s house, so we decided a little trip up the Door Peninsula was in order. With North of the Tension Line coming out in September (pre-order now!!) I thought I should introduce myself to some booksellers and shop owners. We ambled up the Peninsula and down the other side, and managed a brief 18 hours on Washington Island, too.
On our way home, we made a lunch stop at the Albatross Drive-In, which has a cameo appearance in North of the Tension Line. Everyone there was excited and happy about the book, and told me they would make my cheeseburger with extra love. Along with the best burgers on earth, the Albatross also sells Albatross t-shirts.
On the back is their slogan, excerpted from the sign below.
And it’s all true.
My publicist has been discussing talking points for North of the Tension Line. In working through my suggestions, I left my notebook on the kitchen table while I cooked dinner, and my husband got his hands on it. In retrospect, I should have foreseen this.
What follows are his ideas for talking points for North of the Tension Line.
1) There is a talking goat.
2) There is a protagonist who is suspected of writing pornography, perhaps involving the goat.
3) Outrageous things happen after a spontaneous dare.
4) There is a male character who quotes Noel Coward but is, oddly enough, apparently not gay.
They are actually all true.
But he’s still a goof ball.
Because the Albatross is still closed for the season.
The Intersection of Philosophy and Burgers.
“North of the Tension Line” is the unofficial slogan of Washington Island. It is a small place, and remote, and somehow, I think, terribly vulnerable. But it is a place where life returns to its essence. The bustle, the ugliness, the incessant alarms of technology are there if you seek them out. But the stillness of yourself, the humming of the universe, the roll of the water all create a renewal of the soul.
Everyone has a different way of describing the experience. A friend commented that she felt as if she had fallen off the edge of the earth. An islander told me that from the moment she stepped onto the ferry she could feel anxiety slip away. For me, it is a sense of stepping out of an image and into reality, as if the rest of life is staged, but this place, and yourself in it, is what is true.
Maybe this is an island phenomenon. But I think it is just this island.