Oh my goodness. One week from tomorrow and it’s going to be one of the most important days of my life: right up there with graduating, getting married, having my kids.
I will be an official published author. Aieeee!
I dreamed of this long before I thought about going to veterinary school, back when I was seven and I pulled every book off my shelf and artfully arranged them around the house playing bookstore ( Or was it library?)
When I sat under the kitchen counter reading National Geographic.
When I perched at the bus stop reading Piers Anthony, hoping today was the day the other kids at the bus stop would forget to throw spitwads at me.
To me, writing is transcendent: a waystation to another place or time where your life ceases to be front and center, if only for a moment. If you are fortunate and have chosen your book well, you return slightly better than when you left. If you are seeking respite when your choices are limited, books are a way to travel, to find camaraderie, to escape. Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin.
When I started writing, it was almost a compulsion, banging away at my dad’s IBM 5150 about unicorns or Weird Al or whatever it is that interests 10 year olds. It might have even been a story about Weird Al riding a unicorn, I don’t know. I printed the stories out on the dot matrix printer and presented them proudly to no one but my mother, who always said they were excellent even when they weren’t.
I thought we were tres sophisticated, since we didn’t use typewriters. After that, we progressed to Macs, which were even more amazing save one little blip:
These were the computers I used in high school when I was editor of the school paper, a job which taught me two things:
- Writing can be tremendously powerful
- I enjoy poking the badger (still do)
As the years have passed, the computers have gotten better but two things never changed: my desire to write and my mom’s support.
Authors are my heroes, and to be allowed into even the peripheral orbit is an honor I can’t describe. Well, I could, I guess, but you know what I mean. When I got the very first draft of my book, bound in blue construction paper and full of typos, my mother was frothing to read it and I said no, you have to wait until July 14th like everyone else.
Fortunately, I changed my mind.
She read it in a day and called to tell me all the things she thought about it, which were beautiful and joyful and redeeming. I am so glad my first review was from her. She told me once a few years back that she always wanted to write a book.
“About what?” I asked.
“Hobos,” she replied.
“Hobos?” I asked, completely confused.
“Yes, hobos, you know, the guys who rode the rails?” she asked.
“Any particular reason why?” I asked, since as far as I knew she had little experience with rail riding vagabonds from the Great Depression Era, though my Uncle Steve does come close.
“Nope,” she said.
And here I always thought I got my weirdness from Dad.
Nonetheless, it is her love of the word, the countless hours on her lap being read to and carted back and forth from the library, that comes to fruition next week. Obviously, I want the book to be successful because that’s the only way you get to write other books, and I already know what the titles will be because I am always dreaming and wishing and writing things in my head as I walk around.
I want it to do well, because I’m proud of it and I want others to enjoy it too. But even if that never happens, if this is as good as it gets on that front, I will never be prouder than I was the moment Mom teared up and told me how much she loved my book. And that, all by itself, is enough.