Yesterday, I received, without any warning, a big box in the mail. Inside: hard copies of my most recent book. (Poetry, folks; not the scholarly book that's going to be the death of me.) Amazon has it listed as coming out late June/early July, so I didn't expect to see it until then, but for some reason, it shipped to me before it will be available to ship to anyone else. So that's cool--like I have an inside track on something in this little instance. (Except that, having written it, my track was already pretty much inside.)
But I find myself experiencing this strange disconnect, a detachment from this moment of publication. It's interesting to see the material artifact, to hold it in my hand, to see what the font looks like on paper as opposed to on the computer screen..... But I don't get any sense of jubilation, triumph, satisfaction, or whatever I used to imagine I would feel on handling a book with my name on the cover. (The same thing has happened before, and with all the periodical publications along the way.) My theory is that so much time elapses between when the contract gets signed and when the book is produced that all sense of accomplishment has been well and thoroughly overtaken by, you know, life. I did, after all, do a little jig and treat myself to a decent meal when the contract got signed, and that moment did look toward/ encompass this one.
On one hand, I suppose it's good and healthy not to fetishize one's little productions. But on the other hand, I keep thinking that I ought to be able to muster up more than a blase' shrug.