I notice that my intense novel nuttery is now focused on the incidental personal items, which normally appear on the outside of the book. For starters, the photo. Do I really need a picture of myself on the cover? My friends and family say that I will regret not including one, but the trauma of it all seems overwhelming. (And, seriously, trauma is a stupid thing to say for the topic at hand. First-world problems and totally privileged writer issue.) Not just the way I look and how I should smile, but other issues. Here's the thing: after 15 years writing this thing, the idea of owning authorship seems a little false. What I really did is 1) have no choice in the matter of writing this novel, 2) simply kept going and going, refusing to give up, as if I were being pushed along by some inside engine with no breaks, 3) stumbled after years and years of trying to find the right collection of chapters, pages, sentences, words. Authorship seems like a large claim for such fumbling around. But maybe that's just what writing feels like. My other book did not feel that way, though. So, I don't know. Also, I thought I'd be super young and fresh-faced when this novel (my second book) came flying out into the spotlight, rather than eons later to come crawling out all blurry-eyed and twitchy. But so much of what I thought might happen in this life did not ever materialize. So it goes, as Vonnegut would say. I feel like painting on a mustache and grinning stupidly with my eyes all squinty and my hair in tufts. You know a photo that says, "I friggin' did it...and it has not been a particularly purdy road getting here." Or, perhaps my blurry green smiley face, so you'll all know it is me?