I was supposed to give a talk about Tess of the Road at a library (which was also a piano bar, as is so often the case). The place was full of friends from high school (who were also construction workers, because of course they were). I entered the witness box, next to the piano, and the piano asked me, “Why, exactly, did you write this book?”
And I couldn’t remember.
I woke up in a panic, utterly convinced that this was a sign of impending Alzheimer’s disease. I managed to settle down again by enumerating to myself all the reasons why I wrote Tess of the Road.
There’s never just one reason. There’s usually more like a dozen. I’m not even sure I listed all of them before I fell asleep again.
It’s kind of rare for an anxiety dream to be about the exact thing you’re anxious about, and it’s possible this one wasn’t; I have a nice long list of things to worry about as well. Still, the cover reveal on Thursday is the starting line of a long race toward my release date (Feb. 27th!), building anticipation, sparking interest, getting noticed, and – yes – answering questions.
Tess is the kind of book that sparks questions, even from dream-pianos.
I can tell you right now: Alzheimer’s isn’t irrelevant. My paternal grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and my maternal grandmother had some kind of vascular dementia. As someone who spends a lot of time in her own brain, dementia is one of my biggest fears, and something that could very well happen to me eventually. One of my goals in this book was to look dementia in the eye, and to write about it lovingly and compassionately — not romanticizing it, but not succumbing to fear either.
Where does the brain end and the body begin? How much control do we have over what we remember and when we remember it? Where do memories really reside, and what are they for, ultimately?
Anyway — cover reveal on Thursday! Don’t let me forget, haha.