Expectations Unraveled

By Claire Golden

Last week I impatiently waited for the delivery truck to arrive. I’ve always been excited about getting things in the mail (it’s one of the things I can still enjoy even with lockdown), but this mail was particularly special…author copies of my debut novel were arriving! 

Unraveled released on Dec. 14 from Gurt Dog Press (in ebook, paperback, and hardcover). I was a nervous and excited wreck all week. Anxiety can’t tell the difference between good and bad events, so I had a stomachache even though I was over-the-moon happy. I’ve poured hundreds of hours into this book over the last five years, and when I finally held the finished copy in my hands, I experienced a feeling I’ve never had before — a mix of happiness, shock and gratitude. So, what did I do?  I took my book child to the park for some pictures.

The book publishing journey hasn’t been quite like I pictured it. I didn’t anticipate all the waiting:  to get edits back, for a cover design, for the book to release. With the pandemic, things also look different. My book doesn’t get a release party and I can’t do a book signing in person. But I’ve learned from this experience that even when things don’t look like you expected, they can still be wonderful. My publisher held an online book tour, my online friends commented on every post with enthusiasm and support, and my extended family ordered copies from across the country. In short, I am a super lucky author, and even though release day was unusual because of the pandemic, it was still awesome.

Unraveled arrived in a world much different than the one in which I started writing. And that’s okay. I’m also a different person than I was when I started writing. The book contains a little piece of my soul, and because of that, it’s rather scary for it to be out in the world where everyone can read it. But it’s a good anxiety, because it helps me grow. If I plan to keep writing books, which I do, then I’d better get used to people reading my work! 

I’ve heard from LGBTQ+ teenagers who found the book encouraging, from people with OCD who were glad to see the mental illness portrayed in fantasy, and from people who just enjoyed reading it. Having people connect with my characters has been one of the best moments of my life, and nothing short of a dream that’s become reality. In the end, my expectations didn’t matter, because everything turned out better than I could ever have imagined.

What is the real importance of Education?

I began my college education at PSU way back in 1975. I had just been released from the Navy and I wanted to begin my education as soon as possible. I felt as though I was now four years behind my contemporaries– as if achieving an education was some kind of race. But as fate would have it, I also got married as soon as I was discharged. Two wonderful children later, a house mortgage, going to school at night, and working a full-time for the U.S. Veterans Administration, left me exhausted. I left PSU in spring of 1980 as a junior.

Twenty-seven years later, retiring early, both children adults (more or less) and having moved out of the house, I decide to take another look at that degree I had begun so long ago. I had always regretted not finishing that General Business degree but now things were different. I no longer needed that degree…I wanted that degree. Tamping down my fears of inadequacy and wondering how I would look to the younger generation, I met with my PSU advisor, Robert Mercer, and together we forged a path for me to follow. But as my needs have changed since 1980 so have my priorities. No longer am I after that General Business degree. Now I am finally figuring out just who I really am…and it is not a businessman, it is a writer.

My worth is not measured for me in what I have accomplished in life so much as what I attempt in life.