Friday, June 7, 2013

Body Image

Yesterday, I was reading a review of one of my books that mentioned my "body of work."



I have a body of work?

Maybe it sounds odd, but that took me by surprise for a minute. 

It's like that moment when you suddenly realize that your kindergartener is graduating from college.

I mean, how did THAT happen?

All writers remember the "to-do" that led up to getting their first book published. The writing and rewriting and submitting. The rejections and rewriting and resubmitting.

And then it happens! You get a published book!

And you spend a lot of happy time savoring that (as well you should). It's glorious and validating.

And then you get another book published.

And that's cool!
And then.......the next thing you the blink of an eye.....(as long as it takes a kindergartner to become a college graduate) have a body of work!

I admit that reflecting on that phrase does make me reflect on that "body." 

Are there recurrent themes? Is the voice consistent? Has the writing changed over the years? How do the books relate to one another? What are the similarities? The differences? Do I use similar references? (Students once pointed out to me that several of my books have ticking clocks and heart-shaped things. Ha!) Do any books not meet up to expectations based on my body of work?

And now, as I work on another manuscript, I confess that in the back of my mind is the question: How does this fit with my "body of work"?

Yet another thing for neurotic authors to stew over.

But just as I'm proud of my college graduate, I'm proud of my body of work.

(Although it does make me feel kind of, um, old.)


Suzanne said...

A body of work is a wonderful thing to have. Congrats!

Grace Lin said...

Hey, you've got a great body! Flaunt it!