Monica Drake | Longreads | March 2018 | 19 minutes (4,778 words)
When my second novel came out, Chuck Palahniuk invited me, along with best-selling thriller writer and friend Chelsea Cain, to share his book tour. We’d make a joint venture of it.
Chuck is established, the author of the novel Fight Club, of course … “and 15 other books,” as he says. We’ve workshopped together for decades. A tour with Chuck would be a roving literary rave! My only hesitation? At 8 years old, my daughter was still young. She wasn’t a baby; still, I was her daily support.
Her father spent long days earning an hourly wage, leaving our house mid-morning and coming back too late to manage her life. A 40-minute commute on public transit added to his workday. He regularly stopped off at a bar before he made it all the way to the house.
When my first novel, Clown Girl, came out, she was a toddler. I’d brought her along on a homespun, couch-surfing road trip of a tour. She and I darted every which way in an old Nissan sedan, sharing bags of chips and sleeves of Oreos, driving between small towns. We met fabulous people. In other words, I juggled indie lit and parenting, and managed without childcare because as a family, we ran on a very slim budget.
Consequently? She attended 43 readings in 52 weeks, pre-kindergarten. It was boot camp; she learned to sit quietly and color while grown-ups did their thing. She learned patience.
This round, my daughter would stay with her grandmother — and she’d be fine — but still I had a clutch of apprehension. If anything were to go wrong, I’d be across the country, reading stories, tipping up a drink, laughing with strangers. The mother-guilt was thick and ready.
Hesitantly, I released myself, temporarily, from the obligations of daily parenting, and went, joining the team.