Yesterday I got home from work and was pleased to see that my copy of "Not A Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu," by Yi Shun Lai had arrived. I've not seen many pages of this book, but I've heard the first pages read by the author. (Notes on her in a couple). I haven't started it quite yet, but read the first few pages and each sentence makes me smile. It's got the strange, elusive tone, voice, style, whatever it is--that makes you care about the story from the first sentence. I oftentimes wonder if my stories have this quality, and suspect not. Or at least not often.
The book itself is of wonderful make. The cover is simple in its design, which is a relief. There's no give away of plot, no cheesy (cheese-ity) graphics, either. Just a tangled web of dotted lines with scissors here and there, cutting the cover open--or maybe those lines are the plot and the scissors will create that first incision.
There's something wonderfully gratifying holding this book in my hands and knowing the author. Knowing she connects with people in a way I've never seen someone do. I remember my first interaction with Yi Shun over 3 years ago and it went something like this:
Yi Shun: "Alex, why didn't you come to the bar with us last night?"
Me: "I didn't know you went to the bar."
Yi Shun: "We went to the bar."
Me: "Well, you can't attend a party if you aren't invited."
A couple days later she changed the start time of a reading I was part of, and somehow I was (maybe) the only one who didn't get the memo.
I once said, "Yi Shun is the older sister I never wanted," which wasn't what I had meant to say. I had meant to say, "Yi Shun is the older sister I never knew I wanted." And at times, despite the long distance between us, and the long spans of time between our meetings I still look back and feel this to be true. I'm so pleased to finally hold this book in my hand. So cheers, Yish--this morning coffee is for you! *Adds the Irish*