Today, it has been a year since I published my first and hopefully not last book.
Today is the anniversary of me overcoming one of my greatest fears : that of commitment.
God knows how many times I toyed with the manuscript before I typed in the words
“Title of the book : “Three Feet Taller”
Author : Vrinda Sood”
I didn’t think I knew what the word “author” meant, or if I was even ready to take on the responsibility of having something out there with my name on it forever. I was brutally honest about this in my preface when I said that words like “poet” and “author” carried with them too much responsibility that i didn’t think I was capable of, or even worth.
I mean, what if my views on a topic changed over time? What if sometime in the future, when I’m passionately engaged in conversation with someone over feminism or cross-border firing, or even my views on love and loss, they wait for the lull in my sentence before quietly pointing out, “that’s not what you said in your book.”
Of course, I’m giving myself and my publication much more credit than we both probably receive, but the thought of having your views set in ink in copy after copy that who knows might end up in which corner of India, or the world (thank you, Yale-NUS) had me scared.
Throughout the entire publishing cycle, making the final punctuation edits (for the sixteenth time) I caught myself thinking if was necessary for me to publish. I mean, I could blog and express myself that way, too, I didn’t need to do all this.
But I am a reader at heart. I have grown up sitting huddled in big armchairs Sunday after lazy Sunday with my fingers wrapped around a thick new novel and the entire world on hold. I have gone discovering inside my grandfather’s old closets only to find the entire collection of Lord Byron’s poetry bound in heavy leather jackets as if to prevent the words from spilling out. I have spent hours under staircases, in beds, during classes, beneath desks, hanging by the loose ends at the bottom of each page, each unfinished sentence itching my fingers to turn the page.
I knew, I know, the joy of feeling, reading, owning, (occasionally sniffing), and buying books. Which is why when the first few hundred copies of my book appeared online, I was screaming internally. What if no one wanted to read, own, or buy my book?
It has been a year and I have yet to know how many copies my book has sold. All I get is a text from my mother whenever it’s nearly selling out. Every time, it makes my blood rush to my ears and my heart pound in my chest.
People want to read my book. My poetry. My words.
And not just 17 year old Vrinda’s writings, but those of all the people I have been when I first wrote those poems. This is why this collection of poetry is something I hope reaches beyond me and into the heart of someone else, anyone else, who is or has ever been unsure about the way they express themselves.
I don’t mean to sound like a TED speaker, but if this past year has taught me anything, it’s that everyone’s story is so beautifully interconnected with everyone else’s and yet so unique, that it’s worth listening to (or reading about, whatever).
So this is to my book, to Veer Misra, to my mother, and to myself. A very happy birthday to Three Feet Taller.
May you, and everyone who has read this, never stop finding beauty in words.