The Real Me

The Real Me

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oh Wow.

Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Those are the words rumored to be the last of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, when he died in October, 2011.

They are the same words I used to begin my mother's eulogy, after she died one year later in October, 2012.

And they are the words rolling around in my head this evening, as I attempt sleep, but am awakened by the realization that some hugely significant goals are beginning to come to fruition. Oh wow.

It's not like they're just falling into my lap.  I've been working on them, one of them in particular, for two years now.  Yes, I'm talking about the book thing.  The novel.  LYING OUT LOUD (the working title).  Agents are being queried.  There's a Facebook buzz beginning. And tonight, a random conversation turned into someone I know telling me they know an agent, and, well, so it goes.

"Are we there yet?" comes the cry from the backseat.  No, not quite yet.  But getting ever so closer. Be patient, my love. Just a little longer.

I can feel it.  Can't put my finger on it, but something is different this time.

It was two years ago, after my mother died, and my other mother died (Jeanie Moyer - the one who was my art instructor from the age of 12 and one of the most significant influences on my entire life), and THEN, on February 25, 2013, I learned that my dear friend Evana died.  One, two, three... that was when I decided I HAD to quit my day job at the time and devote myself to writing the novel.  And of course I ended up taking another day job,  for a while, but all the while, I continued to write.

Two hours every morning, parked in my car at the beach, I wrote the first draft, longhand, in about four months. I had no idea how long it would take to revise, and query for an agent, and get rejected, and revise some more, and query again, and get rejected again, and revise, revise, revise some more.
My "revisions" office!
Until here I am again, sending out query letters, with fingers and toes crossed hoping that this time there will be an agent who will love this book as much as I do and who will find a publisher for me who loves it as much as I do who will bring it to life so that readers everywhere can fall in love with it as much as I have. And I will admit, yes, I have.  Fallen in love with it.  It's been like that Bill Murray movie, Groundhog's Day.  I've been reading the same novel over and over and over again for the past two years, and every time I do, even though I'm the one who wrote the words, there are times I laugh out loud, and times I cry, and times I think "oh wow" this is really, really cool. I LOVE this book.

Why did I do it?

Because life is short.  And we never know when.  And we're told to not die with our music still in us.

And because I think it is an important story to be told.  The characters came to life, as I was advised they might.  They surprised me with where they went, and what they said, and what they did, and one time, the phone rang, and I thought I knew who would pick it up and it was an entirely new character who I didn't even know existed, but he showed up and said hello.

So there, I've said it.  I've written a novel.  I'm learning to say it out loud.  And every time I do, there's a little voice in my head (I think she's about 13 years old, the one who says it) - she says "oh wow."

Stay tuned... the best is yet to come. Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Birthday Love...

Tuesday, Feb. 10.  Woke up with the cold from h**l.  No party for this birthday gal.

8:30 am.  Check email and Facebook.  WHAT?!  NO birthday greetings??? Do my friends not love me anymore?

8:59 am.  Phone rings. "Happy Birthday, Mama! How's your day so far?"

"Thank you, Anna, but so far you're the only one I've heard from.  I don't understand.  Usually Facebook is the most awesome thing on my birthday, but there's nothing yet - not a single person has wished me a happy birthday.  Not feelin' the love today."

"It'll get better Mom.  I promise."

Phone call ended, I go back to the computer.  Occurs to me to check the privacy settings.  Well, duh, I had my birthday info blocked.  Have to Google around a bit to figure out how to fix it (not sure who I love more - Google or Siri - can find the answer to ANYTHING!).  Open the privacy floodgates and whammo...

9:32am.  They start POURING in!  WHEEE!  My friends DO still love me!

Yes, that was the way my birthday began.  Kinda lame.  But I gotta say - in the next 12 hours - over 100 friends, co-workers, ex-boyfriends, elementary school buddies, former everybody's... they logged in to say happy birthday!  Over 100!!!!!!  Say what you will about Facebook, but on my birthday, it absolutely rocks.

I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to birthdays.  Love to celebrate others... and cherish the day personally.  I've thrown successful surprise parties for others, and house gatherings for myself.  Another year older - it's time to celebrate, not grump about growing older.  I'm grateful to be here, and to be surrounded by the love of so many with whom I get to share the journey.

This year was different (go back to that cold from h**l thing) so I spent the evening alone, in front of the fireplace, working on my novel - which a literary wise woman recently corrected me to say I need to stop calling it MY novel and call it by name - so let me say - ahem - clear my throat and speak it proudly - I spent the evening in my LazyBoy in front of the fire working on THE novel - Lying Out Loud.  And it ended up being a lovely night.  Had barbecue ribs and chocolate chip cookies for dinner (yes, seriously - no salad or sides - just ribs and home made cookies!) - Rosie the wonder dog at my side and Dora the daring cat on my lap - here in my cozy home that I love so much - and it was - yes - SERENE.  Defined the word.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you - the 100+ who took the time to type happy birthday to me this past Tuesday.  THANK YOU to those who picked up the phone to call.  THANK YOU to those who sent me beautiful, thoughtful cards.

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU brought a smile to my face.  And whether or not you heard it, with each one read, I said thank you, out loud, here in front of my computer screen.

It is said there is a ripple effect for every action we do, good or bad.  The simple act of typing happy birthday - or smiling when passing a stranger on the street - we never know how much it might make a difference in their life.  Never stop saying I love you - or reaching out in whatever way feels right to you at the time.  Life is meant to be celebrated.  It is a gift that is meant to be cherished.

55 years now I've had the privilege of being on this planet, with so many dear ones come and gone.  May each and every one of you know how VERY much I appreciate you... sending warmest hugs of gratitude, smiles, and virtual birthday cake!  I DID feel your love - I DO feel your love - and I send it right back to you!

(yes, that IS me on my first birthday, with my brother Bob looking dapper in his bow tie!)