The book took me four years to write. It has been a labor of love. Even though I am still to this day (literally, this day) revising bits and pieces, the writing of it is mostly done.
The title IN THE HOUSE OF I AM comes from a poem written by one of my fourth graders back in Chicago during the school year 1970-1971. A note to David Blacklaw: I tried but have not been able to find you. Otherwise, I would have asked your permission before taking that inspired poem’s closing line. So, thank you, Mr. Blacklaw, by now in your early fifties.
The book is a memoir of my first twenty-seven years, and, as I say in the Foreword, more than that. It is a memoir also of an exploration—me delving into–the lives of my ancestors.
I promised myself a year in which to look for a traditional publisher, thinking that would be plenty of time. It wasn’t. If I’m not successful after a year, then I will think about self-publishing, I told myself. Now five months of my year have gone by, five months of sending queries and synopses and letters, and getting back polite and carefully-worded rejections or no word whatever.
Surely somewhere out there is the one publisher who will fall in love with IN THE HOUSE OF I AM. Right now at this moment somewhere lives a publisher who doesn’t yet know what today might bring: another manuscript worthy of the risk publishers take when they put their money behind a project. There should be a dating site for manuscripts and publishers to find each other, don’t you think?
My manuscript of 56,000 words is almost pathetic in its desire for acceptance. I can change. I can be whatever you want me to be. I am not written in stone, it says to this agent or that senior editor.
No, not written in stone, by any means. But written. Four years ago I could not have guessed how the story would change and grow and deepen over that time. It’s what life does.