One of my fondest childhood memories is lying in bed. Eyes glued to my father as I sang our nightly song.
“Tell me a story. Tell me a story. Tell me a story then I’ll go to bed. You said you would. You promised you would. You gotta give in so I’ll be good. Tell me a story then I’ll go to bed.”
Excitement would build as I finished the song. My breath would catch and I would wait for my father’s voice to begin weaving his tale, leading me into a magical place before I drifted off to sleep. His stories always contained one constant, a young girl, he called Blondie. They always stared, me. It didn’t matter if friends stayed over; he would just incorporate that child into the story as well, using names such as Brownie, Blackie, or Red. The stories would be wound around magical places and mythical creatures. These childhood memories helped to create a love of story telling very early in me.
As I got older it changed. No longer would I sing our song to him, but he would sing it to me. By the time I was 4, I had become the story teller and my stories did not only come late at night while tucked warm in bed. But they would continually move through my head, shifting, changing, and morphing from small childhood subjects into larger more complex worlds as I aged. I remember sitting at my ‘Granny’s’ table drawing and telling her the tale my hands frantically tried to draw, as she sat and wrote the tell out in a notebook for me. We would tape the pictures to the pages and I would be so proud to hold my own book right there in my hands.
Now here I am, years later, anticipation, excitement, and (ok I’ll admit it) fear, swirling around inside me as I wait to hold that very first copy of my published book in my hands. I’m sure the anticipation and excitement are something all authors feel, each time a new book with there name on the title comes out. But, why the fear? Is this also something other authors feel?
I don’t have the answer to that. I’ll I can say is for me, the knowledge that my story, my made up world, I put so much of my self into will soon be out. It won’t just be my parents or those trusted family members I trusted enough to share my imagination with, reading my work. It will be laid out there for any and all to see. Will it be liked? Will it receive sneers?
I have to laugh at myself, breathe deep and remind myself, that no one’s opinion can hurt unless I let it. And this makes me wonder, do other authors feel this way. When I sent my manuscript out for query, it was like sending a child off that first day of school. When I got the email from Debby at Soul Mate Publishing saying she would love to publish it, I felt like a proud parent watching their child achieve the impossible. Now I sit with a jumbled mix of emotions swinging back and forth, as if waiting for a child to be born.
And perhaps for a small (very small) moment I wonder why I even took the risk of sending a piece of myself out there into the world for other’s to see. But this thought is only for a moment. Because all I have to do is think back, not only to my father’s bedtime stories, but to every book I cracked open. Every story I ever read. How the imagination and voice of an author could transport me out of the everyday stress and worry life can become, into another world. How within the pages of a book, I could become so swept away. Forgetting the cranking store clerk who was having a bad day, or the rude comment’s of some stressed out individual. Escape from the unending laundry and dishes, or the sound of my arguing children. And then I know. Even if between the pages of my book, only one person can find a moment of peace within the pages, I will be happy.