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.