My Jo March Moment

So, a few weeks ago I received in the mail a thick, beautiful package.  It was hefty and I have to tell you, I’d been waiting years and years for that package.

Some background: In seventh grade, I heard that S.E Hinton was published when she was 17.  So at 13, I thought, I’ve got plenty of time.  I started writing a book about a kid named Benny.  It was pretty bad, but you know, in my head it was going to blow away The Outsiders.  I stopped about a hundred rambling pages into that story (okay, maybe twenty pages, but at the time it seemed like a hundred) and thought, whatever, I’ve got four years.  Seventeen came and went and I was like, damn . . . forgot to finish that book.

In college I read Edwidge Danticat and thought, oh, okay.  I’ll be published in my twenties.  I was a bit delusional, you know, because that’s EDWIDGE DANTICAT. Anyway, instead I got a job, like one of those I’ve graduated now and don’t have to work on weekends anymore kind of jobs (which, incidentally was slightly traumatic for me since I thought this meant a strange, trapped, corporate real adult existence.)  I used to listen to The Smiths song Heaven Knows I’m Miserable now everyday on my way into work.  That’s kind of depressing, but totally true.  Anyway, then love, marriage, kids happened, which has been terrific and I’d never change for anything.  So I pushed this dream of being published to thirty.  At thirty, I was like wait, wasn’t I going to be published at 17, 20, 25, 30? . . . but I hadn’t even written the book. After a bit of a freak out, I started writing. Everyday.  And eventually, I finished.   There’s a lot more to it than that, but basically, right?

Anyway, the point is I’ve wanted to become an author for as long as I can remember.  So much, that when I saw Little Women (eventually I read it, but first I saw it.  I’m a huge Winona Ryder fan), it was that moment when Jo receives that thick, beautiful package in the mail that meant the most to me.  When she tore it open and saw her pages all set for publishing (relax, I shed tears over Beth’s scene.  Come on, I’m not that coldhearted;)).

And, guys, I’ve been waiting for that Jo March moment.  I’ve run it through my mind an embarrassing number of times since I saw that movie.   I’ve gone to sleep with that scene in my head, and those moments when I was sure I was chasing a futile dream, I’d think about that scene.  About how it would feel to get that package, rip it open, and see my name and title in print.

So, when it came, I just stared at the envelope a long time before opening it.  Then I finally did, slowly, and slipped out the manuscript.  And then, I smiled and put it on my dining room table. Passed by it a bunch of times, and glanced at it every single time.

When my husband got home, I ran around the house with my first pass pages in hand and shouted, “Hannah, they’re publishing me!  I can’t believe it.  My book is going to be published!”

We laughed, because he totally understood (he’s actually watched this scene with me) and it was cool.  It was very, very cool.

This entry was posted in 80's/90's Nostalgia, Everyday Writing, Inspiration, Uncategorized, YA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My Jo March Moment

  1. Very cool, congrats on getting to have your Jo moment 🙂

  2. erikamarks says:

    Jenny–I felt the same way about the Anne Shirley scene when her books arrive in that box! Congrats on that moment, dear–it is every bit as delicious as you imagined, isn’t it? No, it’s MORE. 🙂

  3. timkeen40 says:

    Congratulations! Your story,the getting married, kids, and all that, sounds very much like mine and a lot of others as well I am sure. It is easy to push away your dreams in lieu of other things. I am so happy that you got the chance to realize yours. It will be something to tell your grandchildren about. Perhaps, you could even write about it.


  4. Congrats Jenny! Can’t wait to read it and I hope you sail through those 1P’s!

  5. Jenn S. says:

    Congrats on a well deserved experience. I grew up loving Little Women, and my friends and I even formed our own little club like Jo’s theater group. I think a *dork* cough would be appropriate here, but it’s true. It’s so exciting to think how your story may now get to inspire a new generation of readers and writers. I can’t wait to buy a copy at the book store and get it autographed by the fabulous writer herself!

  6. Thanks so, so much, guys!

    Jenn–I LOVE that you formed your own little club! That is so cool! Let’s form another one, lol.

  7. anita says:

    I’m sorry I’m so late reading this Jenny, but I love this story. I can’t imagine your excitement, so very fun!!
    I love seeing you at store opening, heading toward your corner of the cafe and working away. I can’t wait to read your book!!

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