October 16th, 2020.
This is the day I came home from the grocery store to a heavy cardboard box leaning against my back door. I knew what it was, ten Advanced Reader Copies of my book. I plopped it on the kitchen counter, sliced it open, tossed the crumple of brown paper aside, and looked down at two pristine covers, topping two stacks of books. I didn’t want to touch them at first; I just wanted to gaze and take pictures. Makes me laugh to think of it.
I finally picked one up, leafed through, saw the table of contents, the dedication page, the opening poem, the illustrations. In truth, a tiny, critical voice said, “I wish the type were darker. I wish the photos had better resolution. I wish the pages were sturdier.” But that voice was overpowered by the giddy Robin who hasn’t been able to stop smiling for the rest of this day. I wrote a book!
Out in the back fields I walked with Clara, around and under glorious billows of oak leaves, red, yellow, and russety brown. Dark clouds whorled and darkened the rain-spitting day. It didn’t matter. Everything looked like heaven to me. I noticed the smile on my own face and laughed at myself again, wanting so much to share this feeling.
“Bimma, Grampa!” I called up to the sky (because that’s what they were called for so many years). “I wrote a book!
“Mom, Dad!” I called again (because that’s what they were called for so many earlier years). “I wrote a book! It has a table of contents, and illustrations, and poems, and endnotes. And some people will probably buy it!”
It still didn’t feel like enough.
“Thank you for making me!” I called up to the sky, where a lone bird flitted its way to some evening destination. "I'm sixty, and I wrote a book, and I've held it in my hands."
That’s what it really comes down to, isn’t it? That’s the thing that we really care about. Well, at least it is for me.
Mom, Dad, look what I did! Oh I wish you could be here. Maybe, in a way, you are.
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.