My kids know I’ve been writing my story and this has prompted many observations and questions about the crash. Benjamin is caught up in justice. “Did the bad guy go to jail?” “Was he going very fast?” “Did he say sorry?” Yes, he went to jail but nearly didn’t. Yes, he was going very fast. And the last answer is tricky. Annie is taken with what happened later, after the crash. She’s known about me longer and considers herself an authority on the details. “That’s why you have the marks on your arms.” “How did the doctors cut off your legs?” “I’m named after Betty, right? I’m just switched around.” She turns to Ben, “I’m Annie Elizabeth. I’m named after Mommy’s best friend.” Yes. Well, they cut them, but let’s not get into ‘how’ exactly. And yes.
And then one day…
We’re eating dinner. Scott is skydiving, so it’s just me and the kids. Annie looks up from the spaghetti she’s twirling with her fork and says, “I’m glad you didn’t die in the crash. If you died, you wouldn’t be our mommy.”
I clutch at my heart (oh, my heart) and I am crying which makes Annie cry and Ben continues to slurp his spaghetti, looking at me and then Annie. I get up from my chair, throw my arms around her and squish my cheek against hers, “I’m crying happy tears. I’m happy I lived too. I’m so lucky to be your mommy.”
I returned from the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) conference with (stealing from Emmy nominated Friday Night Lights) clear eyes and a full heart. I attended the conference because Scott made me and because I’ve detached from the book. I’d been staring at my screen slack-jawed and eyes blank, knowing I must fill in the growing gap between me and getting the story out there. I needed this conference.
I was lucky enough to meet these brave and lovely women, Alexis Bass, Alisha Sanvicens, Claire Carey (who doesn’t have a blog, but should!) and Joanna Roddy, who ended up being my guides through the conference and guides in boldness. They sparkled, pitched their stories, and shone. Surrounded with people that live to write and the lucky few that write to live, and hearing stories of how writers earned the title, author, I was inspired. Annie’s words tapped me on the shoulder reminding me to finish what I started. I’m here for a reason – to tell the story.
I know what it means to be bold, how deep you have to go sometimes to find it and at other times you wear it like a coat. You throw it on and oh-hey-it-fits-and-it’s-comfortable! If I hadn’t stuck up my hand during Saturday’s workshop to give the shortest synopsis of my book ever I wouldn’t have met Kim Kircher or read an early release of her book The Next 15 Minutes which is incredible and everyone should read it when it comes out in October. Seriously, it’s crazy good. If it hadn’t been for all of these gutsy women I wouldn’t have pitched my story to a few agents and an editor that day and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to send my material to them. Bold blazed everywhere that weekend and I’m going to continue to follow the light.