Tuesday, March 5, 2013


by April Henry

On this blog, we have a monthly theme.  This month it's about beginnings. And every week at my kung fu school, we have a theme. The most recent was detachment.

How I struggle with that!  I want to control everything: how I act, how things turn out, even other people.

For example, I recently saw a lukewarm review for one of my upcoming books on Good Reads. I began to obsess about this review.  I even wondered if it was possibly that I could rewrite the end of the book.  I counted the months until it was out in  my head, wondered if it had gone to the printers. I debated emailing my editor. All of this based on one person's opinion.  When I talked to my agent, she laughed, thinking, I was joking, and I realized how obsessive I had gotten.

It's hard not to have a narrator in your head, constantly chiding you for what you did wrong.  I particularly struggle with this in kung fu. Instead of being present in the moment, I'm still back with the kick that wasn't high enough, the punch I didn't see coming.

This month, I'm trying to let go, to be in a state of engaged detachment. Some people love my books. Others don't. Sometimes I'm pretty good at kung fu, other times I'm not. Observe, let go, move on. Don't obsess!

I cannot control reviews, how much energy the publisher expends (or doesn't), whether I get sick, my kid, my kid's friends, whether the car breaks down (as my husband's did yesterday), how many books sell, etc. etc.

I'm trying to live more in the moment. Not the past, not the future. I'm allowing myself and those around me the freedom to be who they are, without imposing rigid ideas of right and wrong.

Although today's moment is a pretty good one. I have two books out in audio and the paperback of The Night She Disappeared publishes today. It's really important to me that Girl, Stolen is out in audio, since the main character is blind and this will make it more accessible to blind people.


  1. I like this. A cool zen-like approach to writing and to life.

  2. It's so hard, as a writer with complete control over my characters, to remember that I DON'T have complete control over the rest of my life! I'm with you on the constant struggle to let things go and NOT obsess.

  3. As one control freak to another, letting go is tough. Engaged detachment. I may have to try that, too.

  4. All of this is soooooooooo true for me too. Living in the moment is my mantra now. It has to be as a control freak. Congrats on the audio book releases!

  5. A prime example of the Serenity prayer, huh? I think this is something we all struggle with, trying to control/shape/change things we simply cannot. Imagine how much greater our lives would be if we would just remember that? Lol

    Great post!