Life moves so fast lately. I remember when, as a kid, a birthday or holiday seemed a million miles away. It was if time was made of different stuff when we were young; time was elongated or stretchy. Now it’s a runaway train and I’m on for the ride.
I don’t want to go through these days without pausing and taking notice. I don’t want to rush past the significant and ignore the milestones. I’ve done that, a thousand times I’ve done that, and I’ve regretted it later. Whey didn’t I enjoy it then? Why did I rush forward?
This week marks the ten-year anniversary of my first novel, LOSING THE MOON. I remember everything about that week, the launch party at the Margaret Mitchell House, my kids wondering why their mom was dressed up and the nervous jitters that my story was out there in the real world as a real thing.
I walked into my neighborhood Barnes and Noble and saw the book on the front table. There was a pile of these books, with my name on them. My son, Thomas was 9 years old and he said, “Look, there it is.” Instead of answering him, I did the weirdest thing, and I still don’t know why, but I circled the table. I didn’t touch the book or make a big deal of it. I didn’t buy it or sign it or even tell anyone at the store that I was there. It was almost like I couldn’t believe it. Sometimes I still can’t.
That night I was honored to be the first Emerging Author at the Margaret Mitchell House. I worked on my speech for hours; I went shopping for the perfect outfit, and ordered flowers, sent out invitations. It was a dreamy night; I wore a pink boucle suit and stood at a podium and spoke about writing. Me? It was incomprehensible; soon everyone would discover I was faking it. I now know all artists feel—at some point—as if they are faking it.
So here I am, working on my eleventh novel, feeling the urge to get back to work, but pausing to look back, to be in awe of the seen and the unseen, the wonder of this world where story and myth can change a life, and a heart.
I still have this pink suit hanging in the closet, although I haven’t worn it again (someday it will be vintage chic, I’m sure). That little girl is twenty-one years old. And I still have the original manuscript pages, and notebooks of research and ideas that led to this book. I don’t know why I keep these things, maybe to remind me of how it started or how far I’ve come or maybe because when I do finally pause to remember I like to have something tangible, a thing to touch or see. Ten years ago, my kids were eleven, nine and five years old, which of course they aren’t now because time moves on, and everything changes, but some things stay and a book is one of those things.