What’s WRITE about Landon!

Click the link below to view a spotlight I did on Southern Charm’s, Landon Clements!  A big thanks to Landon for the interview!

What’s WRITE about Landon!

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GUEST POST! The Real Stuff of Life by Kara Martinez Bachman

The Real Stuff of Life
By Kara Martinez Bachman
Sometimes change can come in an instant, as it did on the day I peeped through a dirty window at the stuff of my life, scattered and waterlogged.
Our home was located near the eye of the storm, and suffered scarring and indignity at the angry hands of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.
I remember it clearly. On this date, while my family was safely hunkered down in a motel, the unruly storm rushed in with a mean surge that could never have been fully predicted. It took with it many lives and many livelihoods. It also took with it a whole bunch of our stuff.
Before the storm, stuff had real value to me. I loved having shelves and shelves of hardcover books. I loved novels, and anthologies of great old writers, and big art books that were perfect for angling the right way on the coffee table. I also loved that coffee table! I prized the furniture we had collected over the years, and the paintings that hung on the walls. I loved our upright piano, never letting people set their glasses on its smooth wooden cabinet.
I used to yell at the kids if they rested dirty sneakers on the sofa, or dropped Kool-Aid in the tile grout. I have never been a neat-freak, but would definitely get upset if they messed with my stuff. I loved stuff.
But then, something happened on the morning after the storm. A sure realization came rushing in like the floodwaters that had just destroyed virtually every community for fifty miles around; this moment came when I peered through our window. What I saw, as I waited for my husband to get the kids out of their car seats and open the front door, brought me to my knees: our stuff, strewn, toppled, shattered or waterlogged. Since we were some of the first to return to the neighborhood after the evacuation, we hadn’t realized the extent of the damage; we hadn’t even realized, at first, that the waters had risen inside our walls. We had thought our street impervious, since it sat almost twenty feet above sea level.
But there it all was: the sofa, more than sneaker-dirty, flooded with putrid bloat. The potted plants. My books. That old antique drop-leaf table of my great aunt’s. My kids’ plush toys, their smiling googly-eyes sadly unaware of the dire situation. My favorite book of photographs, lying wet and ink-runny by the door, as if to greet me with the bad news.
When I peeked through that skinny sidelight window next to the front door, my entire world seemed to crumble in a blink. But in that moment I also let go of a bad and limiting notion, about the prestige of the the ownership of things.
My new attitude toward material things was accurately captured in an editorial comic strip that ran in a newspaper some time after the storm. The first frame depicts a man, saying something along the lines of: “The storm got our car, our house, and all of our belongings…” In the next frame, we see him holding his loved ones, and the sentence is completed: “… but it didn’t get anything important.” I’m not sure where I saw the strip, but it stuck with me because it accurately described my moment of instantly recognizing what things matter most in life.
It may seem cliché, but there’s something about unexpectedly losing so much at once that really puts endless hours of mall shopping and tending to our precious belongings into proper perspective. I honestly understood in that moment (and do carry that moment with me every day still) that it isn’t the material things of life that will yield happiness, but the stuff of our spirits. That is what we should tend to. That is where we will find the real prestige.
I now carry daily the feeling that we shouldn’t be here to acquire, but to do things that nourish our inner lives. We should write. Hike. Meditate. Sing. I’m not implying there’s anything wrong with having nice things. Don’t misunderstand; we all need our treats. But I have changed how I think about those treats. I’d now never place them ahead of people, or ahead of my family’s creative life. I would never make the same kind of stink about tennis shoes on the couch, or spills in the grout. I’d trade a clean couch for a song. What’s more, I would never, ever want to own any kind of mansion, as a mansion can suddenly–without warning, on a morning in late summer–become no more than a slab. The real things we build–the affection, the art, the memories–are what remain forever.
I decided in that moment ten years ago, when I looked in horror through that glass pane at our soggy piano lying on its side, that I would change what I value, and focus more on the songs than on the instruments. Now, I have confidence in this simple fact: I will never, ever be afraid to peep through any window. The only window that matters is the one that frames our own carefully tended inner lives.

Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the new women’s humor essay collection, “Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women and Careening into Middle Age,” published by Quill Driver Books. Her work has been heard on NPR radio and has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Writer, Funny Times, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Find out more about “Kissing the Crisis” by visiting the book’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Kissing-Crisis-Foul-Mouthed-Disenchanted-Careening/dp/1610352904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474660008&sr=8-1&keywords=kissing+the+crisis

What’s WRITE about Ashley and Ashleigh

0b0a7436-2We all do it.  We put up inspiring quotes on our instagram feeds, or Facebook statuses.  You know the kind…the ones that say something like, “speak the truth, even if your voice shakes,” and are spray-painted on the sides overpasses or broken down barns.  Then we feel really cool, like we’ve put something fabulous and a little hipster into the world, and we go on with our days.  We talk the talk, but we rarely walk the walk.  We scarcely inconvenience our own lives, or move our own feet enough to be real reflections of our cyber selves.  We’re virtual saints, but nothing about that can actually be felt by human skin.

Just the opposite, however, is true about Be The Change Boutique owners, Ashley and Ashleigh.  When first landing on their website, before taking in the array of cute tops, jewelry, and other odds and ends, a famous Ghandi quote travels the screen.  It reads, “be the change you want to see in the world.”  And in Ashley and Ashleigh’s case, they’ve done it.  They earn the right to tout the well-known phrase every day, and they’re doing so from a tiny shop hidden in a slight-framed cranny on King street.

The two entrepreneurs, who have been besties since sharing a cubby in the first grade, sell merchandise with a mission.  They only carry lines of apparel, accessories, and knick knacks that give back.  They feature lines that provide aid to underprivileged men, women, and children around the globe, right here from the cobblestone streets of Chucktown.  Among their favorite lines is “The Stitch,” a simple $5 roll of distinct orange thread meant to be sewn on clothing items to raise awareness about sexual abuse.  A subject often taboo, the stitch starts a conversation about how important it is for such victims to obtain therapy and support to take their lives back.  Proceeds of “stitch” sales fund counseling for sexually abused people from all walks of life, and was founded by a man who owes his very existence to the recovery he was able to achieve in therapy.  How can we all not want to get behind that?

I first met Ash-ley/leigh duo just before Christmas when they hosted a benefit to collect toys for the children’s hospital at MUSC.  I was humbled by these women immediately, and had to know their story. I asked Ashley number 1 where her inspiration to take on such a project came from.  She passionately told me stories of how she was so affected by the people of Uganda on a trip in her early twenties, and how they use craftsmanship to make money for their communities.  She eagerly praised the other Ashleigh for hopping on a plane at a moment’s notice, and uprooting a life in Maui to start the venture with almost no questions asked.  She spoke of it as though it was a no-brainer for both of them.  You just do good where you see the chance to do it.  But, what I see are two hearts of gold.  Without a profound empathy for others, the loudest calling will never be heard.  If people do not care, they do not respond.  But not with these two; the horn sounded, and they came running with arms open.

I implore this amazing LowCountry community to stand with these women.  Let’s support this boutique when we stroll down King Street.  Let’s not only look fabulous on the outside, but also on the inside.  And let’s do this without the goal of feeling good, but doing good.  Let’s lace up our shoes, lay down the signs, and actually act.  Let our dollars go to educate, elevate, and emancipate.  Ashley and Ashleigh have the lantern in hand, lighting a great path.  They shine brightly, from their hearts over their wallets. The light, so strong, has reached out and warmed my skin, the seeped into, all the way to my heart.

by Lorna Hollifield

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Visit 218 King and see for yourself!

Visit http://www.bethechangeboutique.com

https://www.facebook.com/bethechangeboutique/

 

Seedlings

germinating_seedlingI had a blogger reach out to me yesterday to ask the age-old question, “where do you find inspiration?”  She went on to explain to me that she loves blogging and writing for her local paper, but feels that itch to do more.  She hopes to write a novel, but has no idea where to begin.  Sound familiar?

I preface what’s to follow with this:  There is no correct answer.  Everyone has a unique process, and it’s usually the thing that comes most natural.  It’s often from some medium that makes you feel alive and creative.  However, if you’re having trouble recognizing what that is in your life, I have a few things I hope will help.  I promise that if you truly desire to write, it’s in there already.  Sometimes we just have to go fishing for it.

Because I am a human being, that’s where I start first.  For me, the voice shows up before anything else.  I have no plot, no setting, no secondary characters.  I usually start with one small notion I find fascinating and start exploring it.  Accents, locations, smells, intentions….everything else is born in time from this tiny little seed.  It might start as small as picturing the first person that pops into my head, and just writing a list of adjectives about him or her.  I’ll often see a character’s face the first time while listening to a great song.  I’ll purposefully put on music that makes me emotional, and just start going stream-of-consciousness on the keyboard.  It doesn’t need a point….that grows later too.  The one thing I make sure of is that a being is speaking.  I might later realize that voice died years ago, or is inside a cat….but I start with something that had consciousness.  Life.

If you’re just more setting driven, and need a picture to get yourself going, there’s a simple fix there too.  You don’t have to buy season tickets to The Met, or hop a plane to Paris.  Just google “pretty landscapes,” and start scrolling through the pictures.  Write down which emotions the depictions evoke…then start writing about the person who’d be feeling that way, or the person who’d fit in a picture you like…or who wouldn’t fit.  One of these seedlings will eventually take root.  Once you hear a character’s voice, it’s going to keep talking.  It’s going to tell you where to take it.  Don’t be afraid to step into it’s shoes, give it the ol’ first-person try.  Be it.

Do you plan every word you’re going to say to every person all day long?  No.  You run into people, or circumstances, and you respond.  Your character is no different.  Make a live thing that interests you, and just write.  Eventually that character will stumble into some drama…but it has to actually get to it.  It has to move.  It cannot stay still, or it does nothing.  And the only way it moves is if you do.  Make your fingers dance….start scribbling.  For God sake’s don’t over think  it…first thing with a pulse that comes to mind.  There’s a reason it came first.  Write about it, even if it sucks.  You will stumble onto something that won’t.  In the beginning, there are only small sparks.  Nourish them for a fire.

Here’s a prompt for you today to help you get started:

Every night before you go to bed you see her standing there by the mailbox.  It never fails.  At 10pm, there she’ll be, barely visible through the dim moonlight.

And go! (Use all five senses)

Good luck!

The Day We Were Americans

Six days before one of the most infamous elections in US history, in a time when there had never been a wider trench between Democrats and Republicans, when an unspoken cold war breathed its icy breath down each of our red, white, and blue spines…the curse of the billy-goat was broken.  And without our realizing it, a nation came together, if only for a fleeting moment that tasted like cracker jacks, and smelled like cotton candy.

Let’s roll back the clock to 1945.  Come with me…Sinatra on the radio, Pin-ups on the walls, and Wrigley Stadium pregnant with the roars of the fans.  William Sianis rolls into the stadium on the north side of Chicago with his smelly pet goat.  After many complaints about the odorous beast, he is asked to leave.  At which time he declares, “Them cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”  And they didn’t.  Not a World Series.

Flash forward 71 years.  Rihanna on the radio and the walls, Wrigley Stadium still pregnant with the roars of the fans…it’s 2016.  A new war, one that has nothing to do with Nazis or surprise attacks, fills our lives.  Bitter diatribes are at every turn.  Our smart phones in hand, we peruse Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….any platform we can, to find a supporting argument for our passion or our venom.  We all worry about the future of our nation with different moral compasses, different lifestyles, and different core beliefs.  How will any of us ever feel patriotic again in these unsettling times where we all, regardless of our affiliations, seem to know this year will define a new future?  We all sit under the curse of the elephant and the donkey.

However, Wrigley Field is unchanged.  Criticized for not updating, that emblematic red marquee still ushers the fans inside.  The ivy-covered walls stand proudly as elders of the National League.  The hand-turned score board reminds us of a time when technology wasn’t king, though few of us have enough candles on the birthday cake to remember such a time. I certainly don’t.  I’ve experienced it only as folklore.  However, the outdated field reminds us of the great AMERICAN pastime.  It is one of the last remaining simple things we have…and man, don’t we need a little simplicity?

On November 2, 2016 all men and women, of all races, religions, and political parties held their breaths collectively.  Could the Cubs, still under the billy-goat’s spell, get that last out in the 10th inning?  Could they win the game, so long and painstaking, that it had now carried over into November 3rd?  Could the billy-goat be wrestled to the ground in the wee hours of that Fall night?

Indeed he could, and with one swift throw, and a man out at first, it happened.  The players stormed the field, pairing laughter with tears.  They were boys again, jumping up and down, for the love of the game.  The crowd thundered with praise and all men stood together, singing the song of the full-grown bear.

I don’t know the outcome of the election yet.  I don’t know what our country will look like just months from now.  However, I have the tiniest hope that we are all still Americans.  I hope that when we take off our baseball caps and put on our suits, or uniforms, or badges, that we remember who we were.  It took the Cubs 71 years to tackle that goat, but they broke the curse.  I now have but a shard of faith that as a nation we can wrangle a donkey and an elephant.  I’ve seen it now, in my own lifetime, with my own weary eyes.  There was a night at Wrigley field, where we were all Americans…and it was sweet.

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Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

 

 

I’d Like to thank the Opposition

It’s been years, so many many years.  Waiting.  Hoping.  Praying.  Writing.  I find however, that I’m not tired, but instead, I am thankful.  I’m thankful that a high school drop-out started teaching me to read some 27 years ago when I was in her kitchen instead of pre-school.  I rejoice when I look back at a first-grade report card that in the notes says, “I think Lorna is an author.”  I smile when I think back to my first staple bound book I wrote during free time in third grade…the one my friend illustrated because I hated to draw.  I’m thankful for the seeds that planted the passion that’s taken so long to grow.

I can’t help but grin when I fast-forward to the middle school and high school years when my best friends jokingly tease me for using big words, and enjoying vocabulary tests.  I can still remember coming home after ballgames to trade out my cheerleading skirt for a pen and spiral notebook with stickers on it.  I remember the hundreds of poems written in secret, and fragments of green novels that inspired better ones to come.  I remember characters that I still know today first showing up.  I remember deciding I’d be a writer when I grew up, but having no clue what that would mean.

I now reflect on the past 12 years since I graduated high school.  I think of the chicken-scratch ink in the back of my yearbook where friends left best wishes, and said they knew I’d publish one day.  They have no idea how much that small belief challenged me…gave me something to prove.  I had to make it happen.  I’d promised.

I remember the poetry class I loved at UNCA, and the hellish math class I almost failed because all I did was write during the lecture.  I think of the environmental science course that drove me to walking out one day and never coming back.  It was the one that made me feel like I was wasting my time doing anything but writing.   I don’t know if I was brave or foolish that day, but I followed my heart.  I had a stronger lover tugging at me.

I think of the sweat and bits of soul that went into writing 3 novels.  I am seeing the mountains of no thank yous, keep lookings, and just plain forget its I’ve gotten.  I can still taste the salt from the tears I cried in the dark hours of the night when agents I thought were THE ONE, turned out to be another rejection.

Mixed into all those years was also life…my parents’ marriage falling apart, new families forming, getting my heart broken, falling in love, trial and error….growing up.

And then, out of the blue, on a sunny summer day in 2016, with my twenties freshly out of reach, I’m on my couch in my pajamas eating a raw food bar…and it happens.  I open the email from a publishing company I’d pitched to find out I’m one of the handful of offers they’re making this year.  They call my novel “a true gem,” and send me a contract that states they want to edit my novel, market it, put it in print and e-book, and pay me to do what I love.  In black ink and legal jargon, what they did was offer me my dream.

It was different than I thought.  The Earth didn’t quake, and the moon didn’t eclipse the sun.  I didn’t turn to stone, or spontaneously combust.  I did cry…sob, actually.  But man, was that moment as sweet as I’d hoped.  And without the passing of time, all of the almosts, and the many rejections…it would not have tasted like the perfect nectar it was when it finally hit my tongue.  So tonight, among others, I thank the opposition.  I extend gratitude not to those who stood by me (yours is coming big), but to those who did not.  I thank the agents who said no, the publishers that said pass, and the time that seemed to creep by like a snail during the moments I wanted success the most.  I thank the opposition because through the pain, you made the relief a million times sweeter.  Had I not trudged through mud, slid over asphalt on my knees, and begged for water in the desert, it wouldn’t have felt so good. My moment was perfect, and I’ll never forget that fleeting instance that everything built up to when someone said, “Yes.  Yes, Lorna.  We want you, Author.”

 

Mason Jar

I know how to end up in a bathtub, in the dark, drinking whiskey out of a mason jar on a sunny Friday afternoon.  I know exactly what it takes to decide that instead of going to a Reggae festival with all your friends, you will instead, put on dirty pajamas and listen to only the most sorrowful 90s music.  I feel guilty even as I write this because I know that people have gone through far worse than what I have, but it doesn’t temper the sting.  I take slight joy in that I’m typing this with a possibly broken finger.  Maybe that makes it a little more legit?

I got my hardest rejection yet today.  A literary agent that I stalked at a book signing had been going back and forth with me for about a good 8 weeks.  I mean, he was it.  I felt like a sophomore in high school who just went to third base with the quarterback.  I thought we were going places, but then it didn’t work out.  He told me how incredible my writing was, and how impressed he was with the revision he’d specified for me.  He told me my persistence was immeasurable, and that my passion would carry me.  Then he told me he couldn’t go on my journey with me.  I’ve heard it before, but not like this.  We were so close.  I mean, there had been some serious discussion.  Didn’t that count for something?  I knew this was it.  And the worst part is how grateful I am to him for all of it.

So tonight I’m having a pity party, where I’m the guest of honor.  I get to ask why them and not me.  I get to think of all the hours…the blood, the sweat, the tears.  I get to fantasize about what might have been, and wonder why I wasn’t chosen. I get to relish in that awful, but magnetic feeling of self-destructing for a minute.

I might let my dogs sit with me as long as they’re melancholy enough.  I don’t want to see any tails wagging.  I don’t want people to build me up, or tell me it’s meant to be.  I don’t want anyone to nonchalantly write off my latest failure.  I want them to let me have it, let me bathe in it, and let me listen to 20-year-old R.E.M. (though I may switch to Collective Soul in a few).

Tomorrow will be different, because I know there’s a sick part in me that likes the pain.  Tomorrow I will find more events to attend, more agents to query, and more people to connect to.  But for tonight, it’s whiskey out of a mason jar. Why a mason jar?  Probably just for the poetry.  Probably so I feel a little closer to the romance of feeling like a loser.  You fellow writers know what I mean…

I’ll go back to rose` from long-stemmed glasses tomorrow.  But tonight…tonight is for pity.  My mother always told me, “Take a day.  Cry, scream, piss, and moan.  Feel sorry for yourself.  Just make sure it’s only one, though. You get a day.”  I think I’ll cash in.  Tonight is for me..me, my pity, and my mason jar…

 

 

….and maybe Johnny Cash just to make it worse

Cleveland Tears

Writing is a hard, hard, thing to be in love with.  To actually sign a great agent, have a book sold at auction, get a great editor, or see any materialization from the labor is far-fetched.  Writers have to believe in long shots going in, nothing but net, in the ninth hour.  We have to believe in exceptions to every rule, records being broken, and pots of gold at the ends of rainbows.  We have no choice but to believe in leprechauns and unicorns, centaurs and demigods.  If we don’t, then what do we have?  A mental condition, maybe?

Last night when my heart was pounding out of my chest while I watched game 7 of the NBA finals, I saw a centaur leading a supportive cast of unicorns.  I saw beings that were supposed to be men, find the animal, the regality, the x factor inside, and defy statistics, odds, and wrathful warriors to become champions.  I saw a man of 6’8, 250, morph into a beast of immeasurable proportions.  I saw his teammates grow wings, and fly. I saw a labor of love and passion begin to spin, snowball, and catch on fire.  I saw a city who hadn’t seen a victory in over 50 years  finally get to celebrate the fruitions of faith.  I saw a team become the first in history to ever deliver that victory from such a deficit.  I saw a group of players become more fierce when 99% of people out there wouldn’t have seen the point of stepping up, and would be ready just to try again next time.  They were down 3 games to 1, with 4 needed to win.  They were in an arm wrestling match with their knuckles almost touching the table.

As a writer, I feel like it’s part of my job title to inspire people, to give them a reason to hope, to make their next breath worth while.  We’re the dreamers, the innovators.  What I realized last night though, is that we need fodder.  We have matches, but have to have some sort of flint to touch that fire to, and start a blaze.  I was given that spark last night by these individuals who didn’t just talk the talk.  They proved it.  They did the impossible, and gave me hope that I can too.  They stepped up and showed me irrefutably that rejection, criticism, and low low odds DO NOT MATTER.  They wrote a memoir that I will forever reference when I need to remember how to fight.  With every jump shot, free throw, impossible block, and wood-burnt elbow sliding across the floor, these men wrote a story that I’ve been moved to put words with.  It is them, running, sweating, and dribbling all over my keyboard right now.

What I’m saying to the Cavaliers is not only congratulations, but THANK YOU.  Oh, thank you from the depths of my weathered writer’s soul.  Cleveland wasn’t the only one dreaming, hoping, needing a sign.  I needed it.  My trench mates needed it. Because of your performance last night, a young writer in South Carolina, no more than 5 feet tall, with manuscripts begging for the shelf time, has hope.  More than hope.  Defiance.  Courage.  Refusal of quitting.  I will play game 7, and I will fight until the buzzer sounds because YOU did.   What you’ve done doesn’t end on the court.  Your tears of joy have filled the building, swollen it to capacity, and now seep out.  Your dauntlessness has spilled onto the nation, and it’s a tidal wave.  Hold hands and take your bow, enjoy your title…the rest of us have some work to tend.  I hope when mine is done I will cry Cleveland tears, the ones that still stain the Golden State arena today.  I hope I will cry the tears that only come when daring to be great, the tears that only come when achieving the impossible dream, the tears that come from pure uninhabited need for greatness.

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Picture courtesy of NBA

The Gremlins Speak

I never expected to like writing sequels.  I’ve never been a reader of series, and have been almost against them all together until this point.  I tended to like the finality of a book, and close the door.  However, when I finished my latest project, my characters wouldn’t shut up.  They’d habitually wake me up at 3 a.m. just to hear themselves talk.  The accents, the wit, the condescension…They.  Would.  Not.  Hush.

“Shut up.  I haven’t even published your first novel, yet.  Leave me alone,” I’d scoff, flipping my pillow to the cold side.

“We’re not interested in your excuses or business.  We’re here to talk, so write,” they’d reply.

A writer knows, you’re never in the driver’s seat.  If the gremlins that run the show in the creative side of your mind say go, you go.  You don’t sleep, you don’t silence them, you don’t put them off.  You open up the lap top and start dancing. And 5, 6,7, 8….

Here’s what I learned from my gremlins as of late…First, don’t declare things like ‘I don’t write sequels.’ Never say never to the creative process.  Second is, it turns out I like sequels afterall (as long as they’re organic).  I’ve written about and spoken about, on many occasions how nostalgia is one of my favorite emotions to prance about in.  There is nothing more eery, or more deliciously satisfying than a familiar fingertip from yesteryear reaching out to stroke your shoulder again.  That half happy, half sad, partly close, partly unreachable place is where romance and magic live year round.  When we visit on holidays, we consider staying to find that we simply cannot.  My sequel, a whopping 30 years into the future is giving me a chance to wallow a little.  Thanks, Gremlins.

The moral of this post is that we have to remember that we don’t create the stories.  They’re in there, and they just use us to get out.  If we hold them in, we may miss our moments to get the glory from their tales.  And, oh, don’t we want that.

Writer in Waiting

I don’t want to say that the waiting is the hardest part.  I think that would be awfully naive of me.  However, it isn’t one of the easy parts.  I’m anxious all the time, with some combination of dread and excitement churning beneath my feet like rudders on the boats I watch everyday in the Charleston harbor.  It makes me move in all kinds of directions, none I feel like I have any say over.  I check my email every half hour, and patrol my social media platforms like a peace-keeping soldier.  I look everywhere I can for updates hoping for that whisper I’ve dreamt about.  I hope for some sign of success, just of a hint of it from somewhere.  Silence.

I went to a writer’s conference in Alabama about a month ago.  It was one where Chuck Sambuchino (editor of Writer’s Digest) stands up and tells you all the reasons you can do it, but also how hard it will be, then gives you all kinds of ideas for self-promotion.  The Alabama Writer’s Workshop was a good conference.  I took a lot away from it, but the two most important things were only about 3 X 2 inches in size.

I got to pitch two amazing literary agents at the very end of the day.  I was scared to death.  I knew nothing of one of them except that she was the most sought after at the conference, and that I’d have a lot of competition.  The other referred to herself as a “dream crusher” during one part of the conference, at which point I narrowly escaped wetting my pants.  However, despite my fear…God, guts, and a “go get ’em” from my husband gave me the gumption to walk in there and pitch as hard as I could.  I walked away with full manuscript requests from both.  I smiled when I took the cards from their hands, adoring the thin slip of paper like Gollum does his precious.  What they didn’t witness was when I walked into the hallway, burst into tears, called my husband, and told him I’d hit a homer.  It wasn’t as though I was signed on the spot, or my novel is being published tomorrow, but for me… after a 6 hour drive, and the blood, sweat, and tears…that baby soared out of the park.

Now I’ve sent everything to them.  It’s been a month, which I know is normal.  And it’s killing me.  I stand in the stadium alone, the cheers fading, watching my ball sail over the fence.  It’s out of sight.  That run is over.  Now it is time to wait for my next at bat, and God-willing , hit one more.  Every night I dream of the second my phone rings, or my inbox has that message I’ve longed for.  I channel that moment, meditate on it, and pray for it.  I write.  I pace.  I wait.  I walk into to Barnes & Noble and sniff the insides of the pages of the ones I can tell are fresh.  I am married to this dream, and I cannot breathe an easy breath until one of the gatekeepers of the world I’m in love with comes knocking at my door.

I know this isn’t the hardest part, but it’s my hardest part today.  I know I’m going to see my baby covered in red editor’s ink, and be told to make a million changes.  I know I will swallow my pride 973 more times, and kiss the pinky rings of more elders than I can count.  I know I will cry.  I know I will worry.  But bring it on.  Bring that to my doorstep, because today I wait.  I’m cold in the large shadow of the body I want to join.  I’m a gladiator unafraid to take the arena, but scared to death of being on deck forever.

I don’t know how to put this to bed, to have my cheerful happy ending where I realize it’s ok to wait, and that it will never be more exciting than it is now.  I have those days, but not today.  Today I’m awake, and I’m warmed up.  I’m wearing the home team whites, and I am ready.  I am at the plate waiting for someone to hurl that curve ball and let me swing like hell one more time.  This time, maybe, just maybe if the wind catches the ball just right, I’ll land on the shelf, where I know there is an empty spot drawing me like a moth to light.

But for tonight, no matter the heat in my bat…tonight, I wait.  Tonight I will fall asleep on home plate.  I am a writer in waiting.

 

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