Love shows up in the most unexpected places. Suffocating, oppressive, it was love nonetheless.
I received the proof copy of my book I ordered from Amazon KDP yesterday. As soon as the email of the delivery receipt entered my inbox, I grabbed my mask and keys, and went down to collect it. I was excited. I had been looking forward to it since I made the order a week ago. Things have not gone well with the printer I had engaged so taking this plunge to do up my entire book again single-handedly with Amazon is both exhilarating and daunting.
Opening the parcel and pouring the contents out, my heart was racing. To feel my efforts actualized into a physical form is a foreign experience for me. I’ve created designs before in my previous job, but nothing feels close to this. Just the night before, I had a nightmare of my book turning out to be a disaster, goes to show where my anxiety levels are with this.
There, the light turquoise cover with spatters of bright orangey-red. Yes, the orangey-red was the right tone! Hmm.. but the turquoise seems dull. It’s still not matching the color I had picked. I’ve got to change that. But it felt good in my hands, substantial. The print quality definitely surpasses the previous printer. There is hope. Flipping through the pages, I ran through to see how the interior layout and design turned out. My vision narrowed to the problematic areas that can be improved.
Wait, I was doing the same thing my parents did to me!
It dawned on me today that in my attempts and hopes to put out a good book, I had not taken a close look at it. I had not paused to admire, or even appreciated my efforts. All I saw was what it could be. All I thought of was how to bring it to its greatest potential.
Perhaps that was how my parents saw me as a kid. They saw all that I could be and tried their best to shape me to become that version of greatness. Both my parents and I know not about trust. Trust in the goodness of nature. There are two aspects to growing: nature and nurture. As children, we were being shaped and nurtured by our parents and environment. And each child has his or her own nature, which shows up as a disposition or temperament. My parents gave their best to nurture me but they did not trust the goodness in my nature.
Now, with my book, I too, tried so hard to craft it, not trusting the basic goodness it holds as one that came from me. The book is after all an extension of myself, one I poured my heart and soul in. Being caught up in shaping it and making it better, I had not been present to that. I picked up the proof copy each time to look for errors and ways to improve it. I was picking on it like how I experienced being “picked on” as a child. All in the spirit of love. It was suffocating. It was oppressive. I couldn’t be myself. But it was nonetheless, love. I was very much loved, and had not felt it.
True love requires presence. Presence to accept and hold that which is before us, as is. Not merely an idea or image of it in our heads. I picked up my book again, putting aside the designs saved in my laptop, the images of the other books on the bookshelves, and the many others in the book stores. I held it as if holding it for the first time, seeing it as a new book I’ve just received.
It looks pretty, I love the cover design. Is that really done by me? I turned the pages over, one by one, taking in each page with wonder as they reveal new poems to me. Oh, my heart. I’m touched by my own creation. It may be far from perfect, but it is enough. I trust that it will find its way to the right ones, the ones who are seeking like I used to. I trust that it will speak, whisper, to the forgotten souls.