Written by
Hope Edelman
September 2009
Written by
Hope Edelman
September 2009
Release (Control) Day If I hadn’t witnessed yesterday with my own eyes, I might not believe it happened. But it did, and I’m here to tell you the crazy story. I have to tell it in a fast first draft though, because the laptop I’m working on might not stay charged long enough for me to edit and post it. But I get ahead of myself. Yesterday was a big marketing day, possibly even bigger than today. It was my last chance before release to let everyone on God’s earth and their grandma know that The Possibility of Everything is in stores today. I had about thirty tasks I’d left until the very last day. Postings, mass emails, personal emails, etcetera etcetera. I woke up in the morning intended to post something to start with posting to my Facebook friends, a list of more than 700 people I’ve carefully cultivated for the past year, but the system wouldn’t let me log on. What? I’d been on until midnight the night before, sending invitations to a public reception in L.A.this Sunday, inviting people to join the book’s Group page, posting a notice on my college alumni site. Did I do too self-promotion all at once? I seem to be doing way less than other authors I see on Facebook, but maybe I got nailed. Who knows? There’s no customer service number to call, no clear email address to appeal to for help. I sent a plea into the Facebook vortex, and received an automated response to the effect of “someone will review your appeal and get back to you.” Okay. In the meantime, no Facebook access. Well, I figured, as long as I’ve still got my email accounts, I’ll survive. But then. At about 3 p.m., as I was working on my four-year-old laptop at a café, my battery warning light came on. This was puzzling, since the computer was plugged into the wall. I checked the charger connections. Everything looked fine. I tried another outlet. Same thing. I rushed the computer home to back up my hard drive files—because like everyone else I know, I don’t do this often enough and I’m about a month overdue—but the computer went into hibernation before I could finish. I drove down to the computer store and pled my case. The nice guy with a nametag that said Om (I’m not kidding) diagnosed a bad battery and showed me how I could remove the battery and still use the computer plugged in to the wall. This worked fine in the store. It wasn’t a great solution, but it would work at least until I could get a new laptop. So I came home, ate dinner with the family, helped Eden with her second-grade homework, put both girls to bed. Then I tried to go back online. Kaput again. No amount of fancy maneuvers from my high-tech husband could make it power up. We took out my old laptop, the one where the power cord has to be plugged in just right for it to work. It was dead as well. You know those moments when you feel like you’ve stepped into a zone beyond the beyond? This was one of them. It reminded me of Chapter Four in my book, where in spite of all our good intentions and efforts we keep missing our flights to Belize. What should half taken us a half day of travel instead took two. It was like one of those dreams where you’re trying to get somewhere important and keep tripping over your own feet. Or trying to dial a telephone and over and over again but keep skipping a digit or getting the number wrong. At this point it was 9:30 p.m. and I was, literally, sitting on the couch sobbing. My husband had figured out a way to get my old laptop charged, but only if we kept it in a certain position on the kitchen table and didn’t move it an inch. It was better than nothing, but barely. Then the phone rang. I told my husband that whoever it was, I wasn’t home, except it was my dear friend Monica. Monica Holloway, also an author with a book coming out this fall. She was calling to wish me good luck today and wasn’t expecting a slobbering mess to get on the line, but she rolled with that one quickly. And made me laugh. And told me that goddammit, she’s meeting me today at 10 a.m. at the Sony store in Woodland Hills and—I quote her here—we’re not leaving a f*&%ing man standing until I walk out of there with a functioning computer. And that then, yeah baby, we need to find someone to stir me something strong. After we got off the phone, I borrowed my husband’s laptop and sent an email to twenty close friends, explaining the situation and asking them to be my presence on the internet today. This was a big stretch for me: it’s incredibly hard for me to ask for help. I’m the kind of person who always insists on doing everything myself. But the responses I’ve received have been instantaneous and beautiful, from the friends who assure me they’ll do whatever they can; to the ones who remind me that given the subject matter of the book, this is exactly how events need to unfold; to the ones who remind me Mercury is in retrograde and this makes appliances break down, so it’s not my fault. It’s strange to have spent the last six months preparing for the release of this book only to have my hands tied on the very day itself, but maybe that’s the real message here. The book is the story of how I went from being a person without trust in anything or anyone other than myself to someone who learned to feel safe in the world again. So maybe for me, Release Day needs to be Release Control Day. I’ve done my work, and now the book has to go out there without me, born on the wings of my friends. So what will I be doing on release day? Well, I’m going to post this quickly, before the computer dies again, and then brew a pot of coffee. I’m going to put away the laundry that's been sitting in the basket at the boot of my bed for a week. Then I'm going to put on my “Who says people in L.A. don’t read?” T-shirt and drive down to Best Buy with my AmEx card to meet Monica. Both of us will say a little prayer that my last advance check comes in soon so I can pay off the bill. Then I’ll pick up my kids from school and take Eden to her first ballet class. And I’ll keep reminding myself that the book, in stores today, belongs to everyone now and not just me. There is much to be grateful for today. Books on the shelves, a publisher who backs it, a laptop that’s staying charged long enough for me to type all this to you, and extraordinary friends. And a cell phone on which my editor and publicist can reach me today, if necessary. Thank god my Blackberry is still working. For now. Reporting from the kitchen table, Hope

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  • Judith van Praag

    Ω Ohm Congrats with the release of book and control. Fantastic to have the delivery of your book go accompanied with the proof of the pudding, your writing must be true to self and discovery. If I didn't already know your Motherless Daughters to be invaluable, this post would be enough to turn me on to your latest book. Ohm Ω

  • Stephanie Baffone

    It is a thrill to connect with you here at She Writes. I am a therapist myself and your book Motherless Daughters in one of the staples I recommend to my clients (I specialize in grief and loss).
    As much as it is terrible your day unfolded so chaotically, your post made me laugh-I felt like you must have been following me around and observing some of the same tech struggles I've had recently.
    Can't wait to pick up a copy.
    Best wishes!

  • Sandra Gulland

    It's strange how computers seem to pick up stress. I've had days like that, and it aways seems to go hand-in-hand with emotional urgency.

    But your day? The WORST.

  • rrr

    What a ride! Hope you have a fully functioning computer now (although everything seems to have worked out - yay friends!) and I look forward to meeting you at Third Place on Wednesday!

  • Julie Maloney

    Well, I really love this post, Hope! You are so right; the universe will take care of it. Keep breathing...and don't worry about the laundry. Enjoy this. You've earned it. Bravo! Julie -- I just know we'll connect soon.

  • Julie Jeffs

    I thought of you yesterday, was going to twitter something about your publication date, realized you wouldn't know me from Adam and had a heck of a time figuring twitter out (I'm new to the whole tweeting world), finally gave up, knew that I was just one of hundreds if not thousands thinking good thoughts for your release date. Reading your post brought me a smile, laughing only with not at you. Hope you found the computer you wanted. Can't wait to read the book!

  • Mel Ryane

    The ghastly truth, once more, that apparently we have zero control over anything but our own actions. Crying is good, friends and strong drink are better and good reactions are best.

    On that note, I am gulping your book and so enjoying it...take that to the bank and congratulations!

  • Shelly Cofield

    Hope - your resilience knows no bounds! This blog post (though painful for you), brought as much of a smile to my face as all the rest. You tell it with the wit and the wisdom unique to you. Sign me up! The little trips I took yesterday were some of the highlights of my (extended) summer!

  • Beth Arky

    "Woman makes plans. G-d laughs." As always, experience serves as great material in the hands of a masterful writer. I sense the next book already cooking...

  • E Victoria Flynn

    Oh, I have been to these mucked up places in life so many times, but not with the thrill and excitement of a Brand New Book out on the shelves. Congratulations, Hope! I am really looking forward to reading it.

  • Michelle Maisto

    Congratulations, congratulations!!! And isn't that so amazingly fated — that you'd be forced to ask for help, and of course 20 friends can reach more people than you could alone? It worked out perfectly! So thrilled for you, and so excited to get my hands on the book! Best wishes to you, Hope!

  • Hope Edelman

    Kamy, that is all so true!! Monica and I are in the Sony store right now--using their demo computer--just ordered a new one for me that should be up and running by 7 p.m. So hopefully I'll be back online tomorrow. What an odyssey. Man.

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    Wow. Isn't this always the way?! Technology is so amazing and gives us abilities to reach others in ways we never dreamed of, yet when it's out you can almost hear the "poof" in the air, and you are left with ... your friends. Monica, thank god for her! I love her can-do spirit, and I know that you are up to whatever comes your way, as "The Possibility of Everything" so beautifully attests. The whole SheWrites community is rooting for you, I know, having followed your progress so closely over the last action-packed 72 days. So looking forward to our event (and our time together) in New York.
    With love,