Dude, I was chillin’ (read as futzing around and procrastinating) before I went to work on my next round of NaNoWriMo, and the @ symbol popped up on my phone. Since I’m not a massive user of Twitter, it’s not a symbol I see often. I tapped on it and saw a post by Flyway Journal of Writing and Environment who published my essay Stealing Sand. Their post was not only that you could read the essay or that their latest issue was live, but it was quote from me! Not gonna lie, I did a lazy fist pump sofa dance. I’m not a lazy person, but I’m pretty beat from working full time and keeping up with NaNo. So it was a little pathetic.
Maybe people like Stephen King, who gets quoted on the regular, are much cooler about it, but I’m not embarrassed to admit I am not. With articles I’ve written for WOW! Women On Writing, which you can see on my Where You Can Find My Work page, those have been promoted, and I get all celebratory about that too. I’m new, and I haven’t had much of this yet. It all deserves a fist bump, even a lazy one, as far as I’m concerned.
The first piece I had published was from the perspective of an earring and was titled My Year of Solitude. The story was based on my favorite set that I wore all the time for the years I was sick. My go-to pair that made me feel a bit better when I left the house. The piece was from the perspective of the earring I didn’t lose at my last procedure. The day that story came out, I was up in Maine, and I texted the link to everybody I could think of. I even ordered extra copies of the print magazine. A good friend pulled it up on her tablet and read it sitting on the steps to the NYC Public Library. She texted me right away and told me it made her cry. She had no idea how bad it had been for me. My cousin was also in Maine at the time. He read it and said the same thing. My words in print said something I couldn’t with my mouth.
The first piece I had published in an actual book was Secrets in the Before They Were Our Mothers anthology. Holding that book with my name in print beside a story my grandmother told me when I was thirteen and I, in turn, was sharing with the world, took my breath away. Standing in front of a room double the capacity on a day in January in Saratoga, NY with my family in the audience to do a reading made my legs shake, and I do public speaking for a living. I wouldn’t have traded that feeling for anything.
When I first started writing, I took a class at a local arts center. During the last class, the teacher asked us to write our vision for ourselves as writers. A lot of people wrote about their dream of writing in a seaside cottage with the waves crashing in the background, others about making money. I wrote about people coming to hear me read the words I wrote. That they wanted to listen to them in my voice, the way I am with writers I fan-girl over. Seeing that short quote pop up in a Tweet felt that level amazing. I hope it never gets old.