Mei Mei Evans: Passion and Trepidation


Welcome to Mei Mei Evans, our September featured author.

When Andromeda asked me last year if I would like to
be a 49Writers guest blogger this fall, I understood that she was offering me an
invaluable opportunity to promote my recently-published novel, Oil and Water, a fictionalized account
of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  I also suspected that I lacked both the
aptitude and the appetite for blogging, so it has been with mounting
trepidation that I have approached this, my first post.

As well, I currently consider myself the slacker stepsister
whenever I witness the sustained and heroic efforts many of you (indeed, it sometimes
seems to be ALL of you), my Alaska writer siblings, have brought to bear on the
marketing and publicity for your own brilliant publishing projects.  Following the seemingly endless twenty-year effort
to write my book, I have been seriously underwhelmed by the prospect of
promoting it.  As many of you know from your
own direct experience, the writing process itself is epic, engaging, thrilling,
rewarding…  Strategically drawing
attention to that feat?  Not so much.

Oh, I was no slacker when it came to writing the
novel.  For reasons I still don’t
completely understand, the 1989 oil spill left me possessed of a burning desire
to try to tell the story in a way that might provide readers with their own
visceral experience of a particular environmental cataclysm (and by extension, of
the continuing threat posed by similar events to both human and wild communities). 

Perhaps the main obstacle to promoting my book is
simply my considerable discomfort with “putting myself out there.”  Incompetence? 
Perhaps, with practice, I will become more familiar with and adept at what
I understand intellectually to be the necessity to market my own writing.  Or perhaps my work ethic has finally failed
me.  Could it be that when not driven to
craft novels, I’m really just plain lazy?

But the internal monologue that clatters around in
my brain these days most nearly resembles a temper tantrum: “I gave up so much
to write this book.  It was the hardest
thing I have ever done.  What do you mean
the work’s not finished?  Go to hell!”

As I increasingly catch myself doing with my
adolescent daughter, I am astonished by my novel’s ‘integritas’ –its wholeness
and potency.  It seems finally to have less
to do with me than I once supposed.  I
marvel that both my child and my book exist in their own right in the world,
and I completely trust in their continued becoming.  For now, at least, this is miracle enough for


Mei Evans, Professor of English at Alaska Pacific University, hitchhiked to
Alaska in 1974 and never left.

3 thoughts on “Mei Mei Evans: Passion and Trepidation”

  1. Glad you took the plunge and are blogging here. Promo involves a completely different set of skills than writing fiction, but I bet you'll find some things you don't mind doing.

  2. Ah yes, the business side of writing. For many of us, a necessary evil. And yes, a different skill set. Thanks for sharing both your passion and angst, Mei Mei. I look forward to learning more . . .

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