It surprises me to find that this is the most satisfying book I've published so far. By a lot.
I mean -- the waterproof anthologies and the SH book were much fun to edit, but I edited those, I didn't write those books entirely. And while I did write the two choose-your-own-adventure books, I had to write them very fast, and so a large part of those books is essentially...oh, workmanlike, is the best word I can come up with. Competent prose, but few scenes or bits that I really love. They're there -- I'm very fond of the cloisters scene, for example, and the sequence in Greece in Classics, and I like the orgy loop and the poly negotiations and the consent difficulties in Kathryn. But it's here and there in those books, not solidly all the way through. Even Torn Shapes, my first collection, was more than a little thin -- it was half the size of this book, for one thing, and even then we had to fill it out with some quickly-written material in order to make it long enough to be worth publishing. So it doesn't seem solid to me. (And of course, the cookbook is a different beastie altogether.)
They all have stuff I like; I do think they're all good reads. I wouldn't try to convince people to buy them otherwise. But this book -- Silence is special. I've gone through seven years of publishing stories and poetry and essays and winnowed it down (with Karen's help) to my absolute favorites, the ones that I think are really worth spending time with. So every page I turn to in this book pleases me. And quite a few are deeply personal (I was going through the TOC with Kevin last night, and we counted a total of ten totally sappy pieces about him :-), which makes the book even more...intimate, I suppose is the word.
This collection feels like a distillation of me, of whom I've been for the last seven years. Madly in love (with various people; there are bits of Karina and David and Jed in here too), getting interested in ethnicity, often poetic, even analytic (that's the occasional academic in me coming out). And a little fantastical, speculative (about four pieces, I think), which lets me acknowledge the literature I most love to read, even if I rarely write it. Plus lots of sex, of course. Seems like a fair description of me, no?
I'm so glad I decided to put this book together! :-)