Lost and Found in Lymphomaland is not the memoir I wanted to write. But sometimes we don’t get to pick our topics, they pick us. It says that on the back cover of my book. I have a book.
This should be an easy blog post. I wrote a book. The cover looks fantastic. The content is pretty good too. Please buy it. But I’ve been sitting on this for months. I feel funny saying anything. What is it about self-promotion that feels so awkward and sleazy? Like I’m selling smokes outside the elementary schoolyard, hoping to trigger some kind of addiction. It’s a fucking book. Buy it or don’t buy it. (I have 14,000 copies functioning as furniture in my living room. Message me.)
The one person who ordered it off Amazon.com (full disclosure, she’s not my friend, but she is a friend of my girlfriend) was super flattering. She said: Her writing is terrific – beyond great. Can’t believe I’m laughing out loud at some of these passages, but feeling like a foot’s on my chest at the same time. It’s brilliant. Brilliant, heartbreaking, infuriating, overwhelming… all too familiar which makes it even more powerful. She didn’t have to say that. I’m told she reads a ton and is exceptionally smart and discerning.
The novelist Robert Bausch (full disclosure, he taught me at a writing workshop) wrote this: This little book is beautifully written. It is courageous, and encouraging in spite of the horrific experiences it chronicles. Aviva Rubin is honest, poetic, and fully engaging in the telling of this story. At times it is funny; it is also harrowing and enlightening. I admire this writers' ability to get at the heart of some very complex interiors, and to put into words such depth of feeling and awareness in the face of fear and uncertainty. I recommend it to everyone, not just people battling disease. Anyone who is in love with life will treasure this book. It is a positive triumph.
Don’t get me started on what my mother said. I may use the Yiddish word kvelling [gushing, bursting with pride] on the back cover for the next print run.
The book is kind of a variation on the blog, plus a couple of things from the Globe and Mail. Don’t think I haven’t been preoccupied by the thought that I’m encouraging hard-working folks (you, my dear friends) to buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. But this milk is better quality. Refined. Perhaps not quite as raw, for all you unpasteurized lovers, but much improved.
My therapist says I shouldn’t be concerned that I’m pushing second-hand product. I’ve worked really, really hard on this. It has all sorts of new insights about Lymphomaland and the climbing-out-of-a-Vaseline–smeared-well-with-no-ladder hell it is getting out. I just made up that metaphor. The ones in the book are less greasy.
I’m planning a book launch for mid-October (more information to come) with snacks, booze, streamers and me coming out of a cake shaped like a non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell. I know you’ll want to be there, but you don’t have to wait. Buy the book now. I’ll sign it. If you’re in Toronto e-mail or message me and I’ll get it to you. One more thing: Any self-promotional tips you might have would be great.
I need attention. There. I said it. I can’t wait around for folks who’ve never heard of me to extend invitations to their TED-ish talks. I’ll come to your book club on the condition you don’t pass around one Kindle version.