The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Written: Once Upon A Subway Update

Bad news. Once Upon A Subway is being delayed. I know. I know. This is the second time I’ve delayed . No one is more disappointed than me, but I have to push the release date back a little further. I don’t have a definitive date for the book launch yet, either. I don’t want to have to delay again. It’s a learning process for me — writing, editing, and publishing a book. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. Once Upon A Subway will come out later this year, but I need to give myself a little creative space. It’s a selfish move by me, but I want to give this story what it needs. This is the most important book I’ll ever write, at least up to this point of my life. I’ve been trying to write this story for almost a decade. Truth is, I wasn’t a good enough writer to finish it. For years I tried to write this thing. The story was too big for me. I also wasn’t ready to face the demons I’ve been running from.

I’m pouring everything into this book. I’m laying everything out there. Flayed wide open for the world to see. The darkest parts of my soul. The bruises, secrets, and scars. The most important lessons I learned about life and love. My biggest regret. Things I’ve never told a soul. The horrible truths bouncing around in my mind. And the exact moment that the Universe delivered a blow that woke me up from a nightmare I didn’t even know I was in. That’s the thing about life. It has a funny way of knocking you down just when you think you’re getting ahead.

As I write this book, I look back at the person I was and see how far I’ve come. It’s a mixed bag of emotions. There’s a lot of pride. I’m not perfect, but whew, I’ve come a long way. There’s also shame and sadness. That’s the problem with the past, if you’re growing as a person, it can be mighty painful to look back.

It’s taking longer than I expected to finish the book, but it needs the time. I need it to get this right. It’s the most honest piece of fiction I’ll ever write. And with that, I have this fear that being this vulnerable will come back to haunt me. Another is that I’m building this story up in my mind like some delusional hack. I’m not sure if Once Upon A Subway will be any good, but I’m giving it everything I got. This was the book I was born to write. I believe that with everything in my soul.

But like I said, I couldn’t handle the past. My writing abilities weren’t as good as this story needed them to be. Then the pandemic sent my brain into panic. Here I was approaching forty, the world spinning out of control, and I still hadn’t written a book. Last Chance California exploded out of me during the COVID-19 lockdown. As I wrote it, I thought about combining Last Chance California with the Once Upon A Subway, but it was too big. Too long. Too complicated.

Last Chance California is not the book I thought I’d write first. It kind of just happened. The right time at the right moment. Am I proud of it? Damn right. I love that book. You always love your first. It’s the nature of humanity. But Last Chance California was my warmup. My practice. A test run. I learned so much writing it, but one of the biggest takeaways was to be patient with the process. I rushed to the finish line with Last Chance California and made some mistakes with the story, publishing it, and marketing of the book. I don’t have any regrets about it. I got my first book out and it wasn’t perfect. A flawed writer. No perfect novel streak on my resume. But by writing and finishing Last Chance California, I learned how to write a novel and how to publish one. And now with Once Upon A Subway I won’t make the same mistakes. I’m sure I’ll discover new ones, though.

This could all be pretentious writer’s shit, I don’t know. As a writer it’s impossible to know what is bullshit and what isn’t. But even if the book sucks, it’s a win for me. It’s been better than any therapy I’ve taken, so at least one person is getting something out of the struggle.

I apologize the book won’t be coming out as expected. Again. I won’t always make my deadlines. Self imposed or not. But if you read a book of mine, I promise you, you’re getting my best with every single line. Once Upon A Subway is just going to take a little bit longer.

Appreciate all of you.

Originally published at on January 26, 2023.



Stories about the struggles of a millennial trying to stay a float in our chaotic world.

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Brian Price

Stories about the struggles of a millennial trying to stay a float in our chaotic world.