Reflecting On An Amazing Year

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This year has been beyond description for me. As a writer, I should have all the words in the world to put it into perspective, but they’re just not coming.

Back in January, I threw caution to the wind and entered my manuscript in a YA novel contest. I figured I had nothing to lose.

So I waited.

In April, I celebrated a milestone birthday. And when you’re a woman, the milestones don’t become good milestones until you’re over eighty and defying death. I was another year older, I was broke as hell – I mean, I had $3.14 in my bank account and couldn’t even afford to buy myself a dinner at McDonald’s to celebrate.

This also happened to be the day my daughter chose to inform me that my ex was getting remarried in a few months. At a vineyard. In Napa.

My son is a child with autism, and not keeping to a set pattern upsets him. He was very, very upset that it was my birthday and we had no cake. I couldn’t afford cake. And I sure as certain was in no mood to bake myself one from scratch.

I put the kids to bed that night and I cried myself nearly to sleep. I say “nearly” because sleep was not that merciful. I cried until I was empty and I stared at the wall and I whispered to myself again and again, “This day has to be for something. It has to be. It just has to be.”

You see, I firmly believe that when we’re lowest, we need to learn from it. Take from it. Grow from it. So I finally closed my eyes and in the morning I had to go to work and life went on and a month later, I was finally clutching my divorce papers.

The air conditioner broke in the middle of summer, we spent a lot of time playing in the pop-up pool, and I kept on writing because I couldn’t not do it. I’ve never not done it.

And at the end of July, came the phone call.

In September, came the signed book deal.

In October came the first installment of the advance money.

You might think from reading this that the last line was the payoff. You’d be wrong.

The recognition, the wonder of being able to share this amazing story in my head on a mass-market level, the joy of anticipating the smell of those pages as I hold it in my hand, and the spot-on advice from my editors and agent that make me a better writer and a more fanatical storyteller…how do you put a price on that? You don’t.

It’s an iron-clad validation of everything I’ve worked my butt off for, and my darlings, it feels divine. Transcendent.

Tonight I’ll be sipping my champagne and toasting my cats as I tap away at the keyboard. Alone, but not so alone, because someone believed in me.

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