by Jeanne Pickering Adams
I recently saw a UTube video of soccer players celebrating winning goals that sums up how I'm feeling this week. I can't do back flips, but I understand the euphoric desire to do so. Why, you might ask, desperately curious? Because I reached my GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! I SOLD. I got what writers love to dub The Call, and oh, yeah, I answered it. Ha! This means a reputable publishing house offered me a contract to purchase and publish my book. I love saying that, seeing it written. It's so yummy.
Of course, in my imaginings, when I got The Call, I would have ideally been sitting at my desk, hair coiffed, dressed in actual girl clothes (as opposed to jeans and a t-shirt), with real, honest to goodness make-up on, working on a pithy rejoinder from my heroine. Imagine with me: Rrrriiiiing.
"Hello," says imaginary me, in my most professional voice.
"Ohhhh, is THE Jeanne Adams, the author?" gushes the desperately-seeking-manuscripts editor. And I deign to stop working, speak with her and, once I'm satisfied with the deal, I sell her my book.
Is this the way it happened? Hahahahahaha! Of course not. I was in the car. It was already 91 degrees and the AC in the car was hardly working. Errand two for the day was to take it to the shop later that day. My two boys were in the back, alternating between singing Scooby-Dooby-Doo-Where-are-You at the top of their lungs and squabbling over a toy. We were, blessedly, on the way to camp where I was looking forward to dropping the older one to play baseball before taking the younger to daycare. Into this maelstrom comes the ring of my cell phone. My sister usually calls to say hello on the morning drive, so I simultaneouly hit Answer while fussing at the boys, "Hey, pipe down, Aunt Sis is on the phone!"
Ahem. Professional? Nope, not a bit of it. Thankfully, my editor (oooh I love saying that!) has a sense of humor. After I got over being totally flustered that SHE-Who-Has-the-Power-to-BUY has not only CALLED, but called my oh-my-gosh-cell-phone(!!!!), I ask as calmly as I can muster if I may return the call when I've dropped the boys off.
She agrees, I hang up. Then I yell and sing at the top of my lungs. This promptly shuts both my children up. Imagine that. Total silence. "Uh, Mom?" comes a tentative voice. "Are you okay?" You see, I don't usually spontaneously break into an incredibly raucous version of the Hallelujah Chorus (alto part) in the early morning, in the summer. Closer to December, the bets are off, but in July? No.
To my seven-year-old, I explain in his terms: Well, son, in my business, its as if I've just hit a Grand Slam Home Run to put my team into the playoffs. (I'm reserving the World Series analogy for when I make the Times List!) To my two-and-a-half year old's repeated, "Mommy, otay? Mommy otay?" I just pat his knee and say "Oh, yeah, Mommy is OOOOO-Tay!"
I broke several speed laws getting them to their respective places, eager to get home and call the editor all the while thinking, is it real? I have to tell my husband. What if its a mistake? I have to tell my sister. What if they want so many revisions I can't do it? Oh, #@)$#@)($*. I had worked myself into a true tizzy, between bouts of hysterical laughter, more singing, and a call to my husband, who was thrilled.
As I whip my car into the driveway, I nearly hit Errand #1, the vet. She was at the house for my dog's annual check up. I love that she comes to the house. Usually. Not today. I don't want to tell her because I don't know her THAT well, and heck, I don't know what's going on! She wants to do the full work up, chat about the dog, his health, his age, his teeth. All the while I'm thinking, if I don't call this editor back, she's going to hate me. She's going to call someone else. Aaaaaargh.
Thankfully the vet finished up and blissfully unaware, went her merry way. I called the editor and managed to be reasonably professional, get the details and agree to the deal. Now what? Yikes! I decided to wait to tell anyone other than my sister and my husband until I had the contracts in hand. Insecure? You bet. Worried it was all a figment of my very vivid, hyperactive writer's imagination? Totally.
Its never what you think it will be. But its usually better. And let me tell you Banditas, and Bandits, and all as-yet-unpublished marvelous writers out there, it is one AMAZING feeling to know that your story, your book, your imagining, your PEOPLE will grace a book cover, and a book shelf in a real bookstore and that actual REAL human beings will buy it and read it and hopefully, enjoy the heck out of it and buy another.
So, like Caren, you bet I'll direct people to the bathroom when it comes my time to do a book signing. Heck, I'll direct 'em to any section in the store they want - I know 'em all! For the sheer privledge of getting to BE there, I'll reshelve books for the bookstore if they want!
Big or little, every writing goal met deserves a celebration. How do YOU celebrate? Bubbly? Godiva? Both? (After all, why be stingy w/ the joy?) A bubble bath? Wild monkey sex with your significant other? Heehee. How about multiple back flips....check out the soccer guys on UTube - Now, that's celebrating...