On Monday, while teaching a bunch of truly lovely, rambunctious UCSB undergrads Intro to Acting, I missed a call from an Arizona area code. “Do they want me to get out the vote for Hillary?” I wondered. I had ten minutes between teaching sections, so I listened to the voicemail. No, it was Lisa at Kore Press, and when I called her back, she told me that none other than the incomparable Lidia Yuknavitch–whom I have *revered* ever since discovering her through her conversation with Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed!) on the Rumpus in May 2011–had selected my manuscript as the winner.
I may have lost my shit a little bit and promptly sat down on the concrete, squealing to the confusion of the passing undergrads, asking a chuckling Lisa if she was *really sure* that it was mine, that it was me.
This book has been twelve years in the writing, the living, and the trying. I’d wondered recently whether I should just let go of the idea that these essays would all see the light of printed day, and whether the idea that they might all someday say greet the world in the collected, accretive form in which I had lived them was a pipe dream. I’ve had wonderful conversations with the poet Rachel L’Abri Tipton for blessed years now about staying true to the work, and showing up for the work, and keeping our noses to the ground, and trusting the cosmos to organize around our upkeep of that sacred pact when the time came…and that we wouldn’t choose the time.
And any sooner, and there wouldn’t have been a couple of the most important pieces. Any sooner, and it wouldn’t have been Lisa making the call–and the work she does at Kore, a feminist press committed to social activism, could not be more inspiring or in keeping with my goals as a writer, woman, feminist, and activist. Any sooner, and it wouldn’t be Lidia Yuknavitch, one of my most important heroes, saying the words I’d stopped hoping I would hear from anyone, let alone one of my idols: that mine is “The story we need to hear right now in the only voice that can tell it.”
Thank you so very much, Lidia and Lisa. And thank you, community, for believing in me so often over the last twelve years that I never quite gave up even when my own belief foundered.