. . . and printing, and praying. I hate that song, but it’s what’s in my head right now as I’m getting ready to print out Peri’s first installment. The praying is that I have enough toner. I usually have a spare in my closet, but I’ve been using my good submission-copy printer more than usual this year, and I’ve not gotten into the office store to pick up a new one.
“Printing?!” you might ask? and yes, I’m going to have the unique pleasure of hand delivering my manuscript this time as I’m headed to NY this week, and well . . . why not?
I’ve been asked before when I knew I’d made it as a writer. Was it when I signed that first contract? Cashed the check? Held my book for the first time? Saw it in the wild being enjoyed by someone who wasn’t a relative? I’ve done all those things, and each one was a flash of satisfaction, but even now I don’t feel like I’ve “made it.” I’m always “making it,” always challenging myself for the next step, but there is a moment I can point to where I found a level of peace. Those still trying to get published know exactly what I’m talking about, because the longing to be published is an ache and a thorn, and I remember it.
The peace came after I signed, after the toasting and the celebratory dinner out. It came softly, unexpectedly, while I was doing something I’d done a hundred times before, alone as a writer usually is: standing in line at the post office to mail out a manuscript. Back then, you didn’t email your work because you’d clog up your editor’s inbox. Even a copy on a disk was unusual. You mailed a ream of paper through the US postal service, and it struck me that day as I sent off the manuscript for First Truth to my NY editor that this was the first time I was sending my work off to someone who was actually, you know, waiting for it, wanting it, willing to spend time and invest energy into making it a success, eager to see just how far we could push this new thing, not just for the money, but for the satisfaction of seeing someone new pick it up and . . . enjoy it.
I’ve got that feeling again today. Ready? Set? Go!