Say My Name

So, yesterday three Galleys of my book arrived. It is an uncorrected proof of the novel, filled with bizarre typos (strange hyphens, missing punctuation, the word “person” spelled “peson”). But everyone has said that it’s very normal, and the reviewers and authors reading the galleys know that this isn’t the finished book. It doesn’t even have the cover, but rather a pink and red striped background with the Downtown Press logo on it.

So, I was prepared to see all of the strange little publishing quirks peppered throughout the pages. I held my first book in my hands. It was so much smaller than I’d expected. And thick. It was a real book, right there. Something that was once in my head, partially on the Internet, a work of over four years, right in my hands.

I looked at the front, how it said my name. How my name is at the top of every other page, as if somehow I’ve become a writer. It still didn’t seem possible. Things like this don’t happen to me. Where’s the catch?

I wondered what the book would look like sitting on someone’s shelf. I turned it over on its side and held it up.

And there it was. Written on the spine for all to see for all eternity: “Why Girls Are Weird. By Pamlea Ribon.”

Pamlea Ribon.

Pamlea.

Years of hard work, hours spent in front of these words, shaping them into a final creation. All of my anxiety over being read and reviewed, judged and critiqued, all leading up to the one moment when I can look back and see… a name that’s not mine on the spine.

You knew that had to happen. This is my life. This is what happens to me.

Pamlea Ribon. “It’s a family name,” I’ve been joking to friends. Someone said it was the work of an angry typesetter, sick of another person selling a book before he did. Others have pointed out just how many times my name is spelled correctly in the book, and everyone’s quick to remind me that nobody reads the spine of a book to check the correct spelling, anyway. And they’re sure that everyone would know that Pamlea is probably supposed to be Pamela.

Let’s just wait and see, shall we?

Pamlea. Well, at least when the bad reviews come in, I can say, “Oh, that was the stuff Pamlea wrote. Not me. I’m Pamela.”

These are the books I’m signing at the Book Expo, so if you’re coming, you’ll get a limited edition Pamlea. Yep, the stuff eBay’s made of.

You know my first headshots said “Pamela Riboy,” right? And there are a million different times I’ve been called “Pamela Ribbon.” But this is the first time I’ve been a Pamlea. I’ve been a Pamula, Pamala, Paula, Pammie, Pammy, Pamella, Pamm, Pamme, Pamey, Payme, Pamela Ribbons, Pam Ribone, Pam Robin, Pamela Robbins, Pamela Rice and Paula Roberts, but never a Pamlea. So where should it go?

Clearly, on the spine of my first novel.

In other news, I held a baby today for an hour and a half. I fed her, sang to her and held her while she fell asleep on me. Baby did not die.

Father did scoff when we asked if we should feed her Cheerios. “No,” he said, trying to resist the impulse to pull her out of our arms immediately. “She’s just four months old.” Can’t tell difference between four months and four years. As far as I can tell, kids are the aforementioned Micah’s age, or they’re Madeleine’s age, or they’re old. May be babysitting tomorrow night, but if so will bring backup.

Currently reading

A: A Novel.

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