Thought I’d listed over the edge of the earth into the ether did you? Well, at times it did feel that way. But I’ve come out on the other side and have proof that I slayed the dragon. It’s about 80,000 words (please don’t ask about pages. ok. if you must. 180-ish).
Anyway, I waited to throw my own little party until the manuscript was finally in a state where I felt at ease letting someone other than my husband read it. So here is my own little party:
Wait for it…
YAY FOR ME!
Boy did that feel good!
By now I bet you’re detecting a slight note of sarcasm here. Well it’s because I still know what a hurdle I’m up against. Finding an agent, securing an editor, countless rewrites, and if I’m lucky, a contract.
So today I allowed myself a little Hurrah. Thanks for being a part of it.
Yesterday was it for me. I was driving and turned to my son and said, “I’m really gonna finish this thing.” Then I repeated for myself. “I’m going to finish.” Not so much a validation but an observation.
Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that there are those of you out there that know already what I’m talking about. Cuz I’m sure you remember that moment – the epiphany that you will soon, perhaps in the next month or so, be able to type with confidence those two words. The End.
And I know that some of you might think I’m getting ahead of myself, that it’s not over ’til it’s over, yadda-yadda-yadda. But yesterday it seemed different – like it is now out of my hands and the closeness of it feels inevitable like chimes at midnight.
So today I wrote like the wind. And tomorrow I will as well. And so on and so on. Because it’s so close I can taste it. And I’m hungry.
(If you have had a similar experience, I’d love to hear about it!)
I think it was in fourth grade that I broke my arm. It was a dare actually, based on the lesser of two evils. Either jump to the sixth rung of the monkey bars or kiss Billy Riser. Well you don’t break your arm kissing someone now do you?
The whole class was watching. Billy licking his lips with his fat tongue. Allison with her fingers crossed for me like a best friend should. I spat on my palms and rubbed them together like a real fighter. Now I’d made it to the fifth rung plenty of times. It was the sixth that was the playground holy grail. Only Bethany had ever achieved that lofty goal and she let everyone know about it who hadn’t been there to witness it for themselves. Now I was standing on the edge.
My knees bent building muscle tension as the crowd hushed. Like two loaded springs my legs released and catapulted me into the air. But as I rose I already knew that I would come up short. And in the knowledge that I would now have to kiss Billy Riser I turned to him and stuck out my tongue, my eyes squinted shut.
This really messes up one’s landing.
Later at the hospital mother leaned over and asked as she swept my bangs from my forehead, “What were you thinking?”
All I could picture was Billy’s lips in a fish pucker. It’s best to leave some things unsaid.
My coffee’s still warm as I sit at the kitchen window and watch my kids walk down the stone path to the driveway. The bus should be here any minute. I catch a movement coming from the barn and see our flock of Buffs making a bee-line after the kids. Someone forgot to lock them in last night. They are hungry. I have visions of them hopping up the bus steps as the driver kindly keeps the door open.
So in my red flannel pj’s – the ones with the penguins in Santa hats – I bolt out the door into the cold. “Here Girls!” I call. “Here Girls!”
“Mom! What are you doing?” calls my teen, a look of terror on his face.
“Oh My God!” yells my fourth-grader.
It’s not the chickens they’re worried about mind you. It’s the sight of their mother in her night wear flapping her arms at a bunch of hungry waddling chickens and what this will do their reputations.
But once I’m committed to a cause I’m tenacious. “Deal,” I tell them as I round up my girls and usher them down the driveway back to the barnyard.
I’m not sure if the kids got any flack. They haven’t said. Nor have they thanked me for my courageous efforts.
It’s just something we mothers do.