|Maya Angelou, my inspiration|
My small circle of support is full of those stubborn enough to have swam the chilly waters and scaled the mote and stone walls I surround myself with. They themselves are cynical and unyielding- not exactly the bunch that is going to stop, drop, and cheer with the same excitement I possess. As soon as I told everyone I am going to be a children's book author, I felt like I was realizing a naked dream...
|[I miss it terribly.]|
It's a chilly fall morning on the streets of New York. The sun struggles to fill the streets with warmth, filtered by the smog and the superstructures. Street lanes, bakeries, and even cell towers are congested. The air is full with the blasting of horns, the shuffle of heels, the aroma of coffee, and the chatter of people (not talking to each other, but on their phones). Some barrel out of their buildings and, afforded by their immaculately-fitted, impeccably-threaded attire, glide into the backseat of the still-smells-like-new car they've never driven. Some hustle down the stairs, coffee in hand, wriggle their keys into the multiple archaic locks behind them and throw a hip into the subway turnstile all to commonly ignore one another once the doors close. Others, once they overcome their shock and disgust with the inadequate hotel staff who has not provided a line of cabs out front at 8 am, run to the nearest corner feverishly signaling, pleading that one of their gestures will be the secret native sign and instantly bring a cab to a screeching hault, the golden door will magically open, and their big shot in the big city will materialize instead of dissipate into the abyss of lost dreams because they were fifteen minutes late.
|This is the secret native sign. Courtesy of Gisele.|
I step out of Duane Reade (zoom from street view to headshot) with a bag of excedrin and orange juice hanging from my wrist and a phone to one ear, my hair perfectly coiffed and bouncing off my shoulder where I sling a wicked new satchel, (cut to feet) my slick stilettos commanding the sidewalk in front of me and...(pan up) I am completely naked. Every imperfection is exposed by the daylight, jiggling and rippling with every strike of the stilettos. Upon realization, I panic. The sound of my heart hammering in my chest cues my girlfriend on the other line to ask when they'll be done jack-hammering on 7th Avenue. My throat dries up, closes, and I stop breathing. The funny thing is, no one notices but me. It never occurs to me to go home and get clothes, or to buy some at one of the numerous store fronts I pass as I stumble around the city confused and mortified. And in the same moment I finally accept defeat and become comfortable in my own flawed skin, I wake up.
The fright has subsided. I am settling into my new pursuit. I found a few of my absolute favorite books as a child and they sent me into a tailspin. I have been researching like a mad woman- staying up late scouring the websites and blogs of every writer and author with an online presence and making multiple visits to every library and bookstore in a thirty mile radius. I even found a Half-Price Books right across the street from a Barnes & Noble. I bought a ton of books at Half-Price and took them to the shiny mega store to study. Heaven.
|Two of my most treasured books I saved from my childhood.|
It is glaringly obvious that the competition is steep. Each book jacket (if that's what it's called- I dont' even know the lingo yet) is full of accomplishments that far outweigh mine. Yes, I did well in all of my AP English classes...in high school. I never graduated from college. Heck, I can't even read a pregnancy test!
Yes, bewilder in the amazement of now knowing one of those idiots. From answerology.com, "This commercial says, 'one in four women can misread a traditional pregnancy test.' Is that because they collect one in four women who can't read? Don't they put the instructions right on the box? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems like if you can read the instructions on a mac n' cheese box then you can read the instructions for a pregnancy test. " For your information, I can read. I read the instructions perfectly. There is a control line already visible in its own box on the test and there is another empty box in which a line may appear. The figure for a positive pregnancy test showed that another line, identical in width and boldness to the control line, would appear. I am a literal person. If you show me what the line will look like, and my line is not bold but faint, and there are no further explanations that a faint line still means positive, then I believe I have a negative pregnancy test.
Months after my multiple "negative" tests and finding out that I was actually pregnant from my doctor, my best friend just found out she was pregnant and asked me to come over. While we were talking, she says, "Wait. I bet you'd like to see a positive pregnancy test, wouldn't you?" She knew it had baffled my doctor and had been driving me crazy, even to the point that I was questioning the business principles of the manufacturer. "Yes! Please!... (we ran to the bathroom, she pointed to them on the counter, I glanced at them)...Well, where are the positive ones?" Insert a giggling, confused friend and me, shaking my fists, waving the instructions while I read them aloud...followed by hysterical laughter. My ob/gyn got a kick out of it and I'm sure you are too.
In a blog I was reading, the author was sharing about her recent trip to the Galapagos Islands to research for her new children's book. Galapagos? 2,397 miles away? Wow. That's setting the bar a little high. I'm lucky enough to get a few hours in the book store at the local mall, let alone a trip to exotic, isolated islands! I'll be damned. A new inferior complex is already setting up shop.
But, wait. Being the mother of two small children and a fireman's wife, trying to maintain relationships with God and mine and my husband's family and friends, and now starting a new career in the middle of it all makes me feel so out of place, so alien. It's almost like I'm in the Galapagos. This is unchartered territory for me, trying to have a job outside the home- in addition to my current job at which I'm clocked in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is my Galapagos. I've been absorbed into a foreign land. The food is different, I've spotted some strange creatures already, my hair is acting crazy, and I don't think I'll be the same person when this is all over. Hmmm. I like the Galapagos. I think I'll stay a while. Now, where's my rum?