"Mommy, I want to do something really extra special."
My mommy and I took walks in the afternoons, down these sunny sidewalks in Florida.
"Like make a book."
"Oh we can make a book right now!"
Her smile glistened in the sunlight and her eyes twinkled in adoration. She adored me. I felt it that moment. And I couldn't believe my ears, because there was no way on earth that I could ACTUALLY make my own book, RIGHT NOW! Or could I? I mean, I was only seven! And I could make a book? A REAL one? My goodness! If my mommy could do this for me, then that meant she possessed some sort of a very special magic!
"HOW?! How can we?!"
My imagination of my name on a book on a shelf made me tingle all over, and in that moment right there, I was sure of it! I was sure that there was no more a special thing to do, in the whole world, than to have one's name on one's own book and look at it on a shelf!
"We'll cut up cardboard, then we'll cut up the paper to fit the size, then we'll punch holes in the sides and then we'll tie it all together with really good yarn!" Her eyes were still twinkling and she was raising her hands up into the air against the sunlight and her fingers danced. "And then you'll write your story and we can color the cardboard cover with the most beautiful colors with your crayons!"
I was very disappointed that day. As I suspected, there was NO WAY I would be able to do that very special thing like make my own book and look at it on a shelf. I was talking about a real book. Not one made out of cardboard and crayon and really good yarn.
Today, my first novella is available for purchase by anyone in the world who has access to the internet. And suddenly as this reality dawns on me like the flooding sunlight on that afternoon in Florida, I feel reunited back to who I was at that very moment, on that very sidewalk, and I think to myself "I did it. I really, really, really, really did it!"
When you become a published writer, all sorts of "sharks" swim in and eat up the memories, the reasons, the meaning... and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it's all about the marketing, it's all about the publicity, it's all about getting yourself out there so people can read you, so people can buy your books, it's all about book rankings and Amazon ratings and Goodreads reviews. But if you take all the sharks away... it's really just you, when you were seven years old, in red shorts, walking with your mommy on a sunny sidewalk in Florida, and you think that the greatest most magical most miraculous thing that could ever happen to you in your life, is to make a book. Your own book. And today, I am happy, because today, that's how I feel. All the sharks are gone...
My new book; my new book is my new miracle, a miracle four years in the making, and it's the most beautiful miracle, to me. Because it is my book, I wrote it, I made it, it's beautiful, it's mine, and that's my name on it.