How strangely anticlimactic to come to the end of the day and find it's not much different than any other day. I worked on a freelance editing project all day (it was a day overdue because yesterday I had to take the car to Cedar Rapids for repairs), dropped the project off at the office, stopped at Lowe's to buy plumbing supplies for the bathroom remodel we're about to undergo, and called the plumber. When I got home I went to dinner with B, and then stopped at Prairie Lights to see my book on the table. There it was, four copies left. I don't know how many they ordered but I would guess it was more than four, which seemed like a good sign. But I've looked at it so often now that it was not at all strange to see it there, among the Brockemeiers and Changs and Tussings of the world, waiting to be read. It was almost as if I'd dropped my personal copy there, accidentally, and forgotten it.
In fact, the odd thing about living in a town like Iowa City when your book is published is how commonplace it is. There's no point in getting a big head when you can see a Pulitizer Prize winner at the Hy-Vee on your average Saturday and your friends and classmates are all writing books as good, if not much, much better, than yours.
It is that--the camaraderie, the understanding between writers, the love of books and writing so rare in the world these days, the astonishing discourse that takes place between people with a common goal, if very different methods of achieving it--that keeps me here, and helps keep me going. I loved living in New York--it has a kind of pulse nearly impossible to find anywhere else--but the thought that someday I may need to leave Iowa makes me unbearably sad, becauses there is a real community of writers here, no matter what you think of MFA programs or Iowa in particular. It's that community that makes a day like today feel both mundane and worthwhile.