Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Reward In Print

The first time my words were in print, they were literally in print - handprinted by me at the age of nine (see my blog entry of September 28, 2008 titled First Journey).  I was hooked.  In high school, I saw my name in a byline for the first time in my school paper.  I wanted more.

Whether it has been a press release I wrote for my employer, an article in a trade journal under my name, or a piece in a magazine, seeing my work in print never ceases to be exciting.  I covered this subject in a previous blog as well: August 26, 2010's Validation.

A few days ago, I experienced that excitement in a whole new way.  For the first time, my literary efforts are in published form in a hardbound book.  I've been anticipating the sight of the brown UPS van appearing in front of my house for weeks.  When that happened the other day, I knew that the box the carrier was bringing to my doorstep held the complimentary copies of that anthology from the publisher.

Staring at the cover, then carefully turning to the table of contents and seeing my name next to my story title sent a visible shiver through my body.  And turning to the pages that presented my essay evoked happy tears and a huge grin.  The only downside to the moment was that I was at home alone.  My husband was working, so were my son and daughter-in-law, no neighbors were home, and I knew my best girlfriend was also at work.  I grabbed my cell phone and dialed my daughter's number and was rewarded when she answered and I could share my elation.

It's odd to me how much this has increased my motivation to get my novel completed  - and accepted by a publisher.  I'm continuing in earnest on that path.  Occasionally, I'll glance over at the bright red cover of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas and it renews my desire to jump that next hurdle.  I'll let you know when I get there.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alex's Day

Our grandson Alex's birthday has always had special meaning to me, and yesterday was no exception.  He turned fifteen and, as I do every year on his day, I was reminded of the joy he brought back to our family with his birth.

We had lost my mother just two months before and I was separated by both grief and geography from my daughter as she awaited the arrival of her first child.  As her due date approached, I traveled from Virginia to Florida to stay with my dad and fulfill my daughter's request that I be present when she went into labor.

Alex was in no hurry to come into the world.  I can remember walking the hospital floor with Dawn at 3 a.m., in an attempt to awaken Alex from a nap he decided to take after labor had begun.  It wasn't until the following evening that he finally graced us with his presence.  My tears clouded my first view of him but they were tears of joy: for me, for my daughter and her husband, and for the unexpected lifting of my heart at the sight of this tiny, perfect being.

I've been lucky because, except for the first couple of months of his life, he has spent his years within moments of our house; one year actually in our house.  And, as he's grown into the young man who never ceases to surprise us with his insights and sarcastic wit, I've gained a treasure chest of memories.  He is a survivor, a lover of music and words, and someone who has always reminded me of me because of his quiet manner and introspection.

I don't mean to imply that he's always quiet.  He and his brother, Chris, are endless sources of laughter and physical craziness.  He isn't the perfect child - no child is, but I wouldn't want him any other way.  And Alex's serious side, when he seems to mirror my inner self at that age, touches me and furthers my belief that he is destined to do great things.

So, here's to Alex:  I know we celebrated last weekend with you when you came to visit, and we wished you a great day by phone yesterday, but I wanted to add these thoughts before your birthday fades into memory.  You were the first person to lift me out of the saddest period of my life, and ever since, you've made my life grander with your explorations of the world that you've shared with me.  Your grandfather and I love you and wish for you everything you wish for.  Never stop believing in your dreams because you have the brains, the drive and the personality to make them all realities.  So once again: Happy Birthday, Alex, and many, many, many more!