Oh, my dear readers. Well…here we are. I’ve sat at this desk for the past 8 weeks chronicling my journey, and this post tonight marks the end of it. The last chapter of this story, and the beginning of a very different one. It’s astounding how fast these things go by, isn’t it?
(Bizarre analogy, but this post feels like the equivalent of Doctor Who giving a speech before they regenerate. I can just hear Capaldi’s voice…“Let’s get it right…basic stuff first!”)
Anyway. Basic stuff first.
To anyone who reads Deposing Nathan, whether you know me or you don’t; whether I grew up with you or have never seen your face: I need you to know it’s okay if you don’t like this book. Truly. And I guarantee that there are some of you who are expecting to love it that won’t. Some of you may even be my strongest supporters. My closest friends or family. Truly, truly, it’s okay. You can even tell me—I want you to. And know that when you do, I’ll just tilt my head and say, “oh yeah?” with a little chuckle. One reviewer the other day called it a “literary train wreck,” and it made me laugh. Not as a method of masking pain, but rather a genuine gesture as I sat in my room. The kind fueled by a reminder that this world is full of so many people from so many different backgrounds, and every one of them is about to have access to this thing I wrote. God, how can I not overflow with excitement?
In 2 hours, I’ll be a published author. So before that happens, I want to share something I’ve never told any of you.
I get asked a lot if Deposing Nathan is at all based on my own life, and it surprises people when I say “no.” I’ve never spent a single day dealing with anything Nate deals with. However, there is one single element of the book that was copy-pasted directly from my own life: Cameron’s memory.
For anyone unfamiliar, one of the characters (Cam) has an eidetic memory. But–as he tells Nate–this means he’s often left dealing with “memory attacks”, i.e. becoming overwhelmed by recalling bad times or, even worse, good ones. Drowning in nostalgia. And while my memory isn’t eidetic—“hyperthymesic” is a more appropriate term—this is directly taken from my own life. I can tell you what I was doing on July 19th of five years ago. And I experience the same paralyzing episodes as my character Cam. It occurs about once every week or two, usually at night as I’m falling asleep. I’ll remember something like the feeling of sitting in the limo with my friends on our way to Senior Prom—the jokes we told and the unfiltered exuberance rushing through teenage me—and I’ll cry myself to sleep with a huge smile on my face. Imagine, every night before you go to bed, you put on a film reel from any given day in your life. Sometimes it makes you want to shrivel or hide or cringe. And other days it makes you sob for joy and awareness of how ludicrously lucky you are to exist on this earth in this life at this moment.
I tell you all this because growing up with my memory led me to recognize certain key moments. Moments that I know, as they’re happening, I’ll miss later. What a beautiful yet useless ability, don’t you think?
Here I am. For one last night, I’m an unpublished author. Here I am.
Tomorrow is going to be one of those days I remember for a long time. I said that before senior prom, and my first day of college, and I was right those times, and I’m right now. These are the last hours where I can cling to the blissfulness of it not having happened yet. I’ve been counting down to tomorrow for years and now it’s right in front of me and I’M SO EXCITED! God, how could I not be?!
I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I have no idea. This book will either explode off the shelves, or it’ll barely sell, or it’ll do completely average. I honestly couldn’t tell you which of those three I’m most afraid of. Because oh, am I scared, guys. I’m so scared.
Whatever happens, I’ll always have the wonderful new people I met on this journey. Allison. The whole team at Page Street. Reviewers who I’ve had wonderful conversations with, and even some like Tay, Chris, Austin, Chad, or Mari J who I’m proud to now call friends. Oh, my friends. This book could fall flat on its very neon face, and I’d publish it again a thousand times over just to meet you. You are worth so much more than a book. You’re all stories of your own and each of you is a beautiful one.
I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to be celebrating the eve of a book release ever again. But in the meantime, as an aspiring author who’s waited ten years for his dreams to come true, all I can say is, I’m ready for all the unfiltered exuberance this will bring. I’m ready for this day that I know I’ll want back later. So whatever happens next, let me never become numb to this feeling. Let me wring every drop of joy and jubilance out of this thing called a day in my privileged gift of a life. Let me be so close to this moment that it hurts.
As I go on my nightly walk in a few minutes, I’ll be thinking about each of you. And I’ll look up at the stars as I feel the summer air; and I’ll drink in this feeling of being too lucky for this life. Here I am. I truly can’t believe how much I love it.
My debut novel comes out tomorrow.
It’s a book that’s going to piss a lot of people off and hopefully help a lot of others, and it’s full of more truths than I’ve ever put into one place before, and oh my God am I so scared, and oh my God am I so ready. I’m ready for everyone to see who I am. I’m ready for all of it.
I’m ready. I’m crying all over my shirt and making it a wet mess right now, but I’m ready.
My name is Zack Smedley. I spent a decade dreaming of being an author. Ten years writing. Three projects queried. Over two hundred rejections. One wonderful agent. One incredible publisher. Ten months of production. Dozens of new friends. Four hundred pages of a story that will show everyone who I am.
Hello, world. My name is Zack Smedley, and I’m a published author. I’ve been waiting a very long time for you to meet me.
Here I am.