Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight

The Life of a Writer

I have been a writer for a very, very long time. I uncovered my talent early, scribbling furiously in little pink notebooks while splayed on my Laura Ashley bedspread. My childhood bedroom was furnished with alluringly feminine pieces–a Victorian style makeup table where I learned to smear glitter all over my face, a canopy bed of wrought iron from which I strung dead dried roses. Vines from our home’s exterior crept inside my front window. I enjoyed clipping them with nail scissors and pretending I was trapped in the tower of an air-conditioned suburban castle. My early setting was very dramatic and inspired my craft.

Recently, I came across a diary I kept throughout my eighth year as a preternaturally evolved person. Please enjoy the early works of a burgeoning artist.

“I’ll always keep this book close to my heart. Through all the years of my life, I will keep this. My favorite page is page 8 about my best friend and me being separated forever.”
Signed, Jennifer (age 8)

Page 4: A Poem
Up in the Sky
“The sky is blue
and the clouds a new
When I sit by the window sill,
Way up in the sky
so high, so high,
up to the brightest star, and I sit and I
sit, And wonder where you are.”
BY: Jennifer P.
March 5, 1986
third grade
age eight 8

Page 8:
“I’ll never forget the day my best friend Magic moved to New Jersey. Yes, it was sad to see my best friend moving, but, it was needed. For her grandmother was dying. It was a tragedy and I cried for her. But I’ll never forget Magic’s smile. And I garentee you she won’t forget mine. And here’s a song I wrote:

Why do we have to be separated like this. We were meant to be together forever forever friends we will be oh, friends together just you and me.

“These words mean a lot to me. Magic was a dear friend to me. And I bet your buckles Erika isn’t even writing in her journal about her moving even though she clams that Magic and her were best friends.

No they weren’t. “


(Can you believe I had a friend named Magic? Actually, her full name was Magic Rain And Moon Nelson D’Arienzo. This is what happens when you’re born in the ’70s.)… And yes, the “And” was capitalized.


So, now do you get the idea? Do you see why I keep crackin’ away at this? You can’t ignore raw talent. You’ve either got it, or you don’t. Same goes for that latent bitchiness in my last entry. If it’s there, you just have to own it. I’m ready to step into my power guys.

So anyway, after a few years (I think it was 3.5, but possibly four!) I *finished* writing my memoir. I put the word finished in little brackets because it will never feel truly finished, I will never get it just right and if by some miracle I am able to get it published in the traditional sense, it’s most certainly not in final form. I’m pretty sure I overuse semi-colons to an almost criminal extent.

Part of me is reluctant to announce “I finished my book!” because now I’m on the hook for whatever comes next. And the truth is, I want something to come out of this. I spent a lot of time on this. I woke up at six–sometimes five– for years to get the writing in before work, when the house was quiet and my brain felt most alert. I wrote this entire thing while Vinny was sleeping; the dude never even saw me at my computer! I spent all spring and summer typing away on my little back patio and I wouldn’t be surprised if my next door neighbors think I have a gaming addiction with the amount of time they’ve seen me glued to my laptop.

I’ve read and fine-tuned each chapter a dozen times, and I can’t look at them anymore. I’ve clipped and rearranged and scrapped big chunks altogether. I’ve given it to a few people (the industry calls them beta-readers) and their feedback was encouraging. But still, when I look over it, I’m constantly asking myself, “Is this a book? Does it read like an actual book?” There are parts I know are good, and there are parts where I think it could be a lot better. It is nearly impossible to objectively read something you’ve written and get a grasp of whether it’s any good or not. Sometimes I read stuff I’ve written and get a kick out of it. Sometimes I read it back and think “Oh wow- this is trash.”

I have no delusions of grandeur here; I didn’t write the next great American novel and I am no Joan Didion. My book falls under the category of “lighthearted”, “easy to read” and “something you might throw in your beach bag”. I’m cool with it. I know what kind of writer I am. I’m hopeful that there are literary agents interested in publishing something like this, but really– I just have no idea what will happen next.

I will say that I am proud of myself for setting a goal and finishing it. Even if nothing happens next (which could very well be the case), I will always be able to say that I got this thing out of my head and onto paper, and I feel true relief in having done that. But if it doesn’t get published in the traditional sense, I will likely self-publish and advertise it here.

That’s where the next phase comes in — marketing myself. Sending queries to agents, proving to them I have a big enough platform to sell copies. Ugh, I’m so loathe to do this, but I’m pretty sure I have to. I’ll ask you this one time and then I’ll shut up about it, but if you like something you read here, please share it–either on social media or the old-fashioned way (with your mouth).

If you’re reading this, I appreciate you. I’ve taken some really long breaks and you stuck around! I’ve always had a really small readership, but it’s always struck me as a smart, encouraging, supportive and savvy one. Now that the book is done, I need to go out and find more people like you to join us here.

If you have any ideas on how to do that, I’m totally open to them. In the meantime, I guess I’ll be in the corner of everyone’s favorite restaurant, hashtagging my poached eggs so that shit can spread like Instagram wildfire.

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • Katherine Walsh
    Congratulations on finishing your book. That is definitely something to be proud of. I have no idea how the process of getting your book published works, but I wish you great success at it.
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      Thank you Katherine! I have no idea either but I’m hoping to gradually figure it out!
  • Nancy Doctor
    I am a long time reader and always enjoy your stories! I feel a certain kinship as i live in Houston and have a vacation home in Galveston so understand your perspective and my daughter lives/works in Manhattan, so there’s that. Now you have written a book and guess what? My husband just wrote a book. I know what you are going through……self-publish or not…..
    Too much info for this section but i would be happy to share what he decided to do. It is not out yet but at the publishers and should be put on February. I’m sure you getting lots of “help.”. Congratulations on your book! i know it is a quite a feat to do it and you should be so proud of the accomplishment.
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      Hi Nancy! Thank you for chiming in! Wow- that is a lot of overlap! I’m 100% curious to hear about his process getting published. Congratulations to him!
      • Nancy Doctor
        He ended up going with a self publishing company called bookbaby after researching a lot of different options. He also hired a publicist to help him with a lot of the little details and promoting the book. He’s not good with social media. Trust me, you have a lot more work to do!!! You’ve got this!
        • Jenn from much to my delight
          I absolutely HATE all the social media promotional stuff. If I could hire someone to handle that (i’m sure I can but it’ll cost me), I would. I always feel like I’m spamming the universe.
          • Nancy Doctor
            i totally understand but you know that is the way it is now. It will cost a little up front but in the long run it will pay off in terms of sales! If you want her contact info just to see what she has to say, i am happy to share it with you. She is in Houston but has connections in NYC. I think he went with Bookbaby at her recommendation. Their staff has been very good especially the editing and you potentially will make more on the sales than Amazon. He is doing a book and and e-book and it isn’t costing that much upfront.
          • Jenn from much to my delight
            That’s actually super helpful information. Thank you Nancy!
  • Erica
    I’d take your book to the beach with me any day! I have two toddlers so there’s a high likelihood I wouldn’t read it. But I’d definitely bring it. And hope it didn’t end up in the ocean.
    • Jenn from much to my delight
      Haha! That would make a perfect book review on a parenting website: “Take this book to the beach with you. You’ll never get to read it, but you’ll always be glad it’s there.”