I decided, a few weeks ago, to write a book. I decided that now that I’m 40 (well, nearly. In a month.) I should start doing the things I have always wanted to do so that I don’t reach 50 and have to have this same conversation with myself. Write a book. Top of the list. And if I can self-publish, even better. Because of the judging. And the waiting. And the angst. You know. So, I found a writers group, housed in a fairly well-known local writing community center — except — when I inquired about joining the group, I was told that they were currently “reviewing submissions” for a very few spots that very rarely open up and if I could send writing samples in the next few hours, they would add me to their list of considerations. I hadn’t anticipated this. I didn’t have a sample ready, I didn’t know what they were looking for, and I felt — all of a sudden — like I was hanging my hat on this one opportunity. Like it was this group that was going to be the ticket to writing a book, which was the one thing I was committing to do this year. I sent off two blog posts. (This one and this one, actually.)
Then I waited.
A week later, after more email refreshes than I care to admit, I was invited to join the group. Exhale.
There’s a weekly segment on Sirius Kids’ Place Live called “Story Pirates.” The Who is a story-lover. He prefers to listen to stories over almost anything else and he loves when Story Pirates pop up on the radio. The other day, Story Pirates announced that they were looking for story submissions for the month of March. They talked about the theme for the month, the types of stories they were looking for, and how to submit.
“Can I do that?” he asked.
This must be what it feels like when the child of a dancer asks to take dance class. Or the child of pianist asks to take lessons.
I took him to the library the next afternoon and we reviewed the guidelines for submission. I copied down every word he said, verbatim and delighted in watching his eyes dart back and forth as he constructed the next plot point. He had an actual storyline. He had planned it out. And then he “wrote” it down. My boy — the writer.
I submitted it online for him and when I told him that I had done so, he asked excitedly, “When do we get to hear it on the radio?” And then I had to break the news: it’s a waiting game now, champ. And even after we wait, there’s a chance (a good chance?) that they won’t choose your story. But you wrote it! And you sent it in! And now we wait.
And nobody knows what this feels like better than I.
“Where is That Smoke Coming From?”
-by The Who (shared with permission.)
“George, do you know where that smoke’s coming from?”
“No, I do not. Where?”
“Let’s go check it out!”
So, then, they were going to check it out when they saw a man. He said, “Where’s that smoke coming from?”
“We don’t know! It might be coming from a fireplace in a deep, dark house! Lets go see if it is!” And they invited him to join them.
So, they looked and they looked and they saw a woman. The woman said, “Where is that smoke coming from?”
They said, “Oh, we don’t know; we’re going to check it out.” They invited her to go.
So, they went and then they saw a womanish man. They said, “Where is that smoke coming from?” And then they all saw a man who was NOT saying, ‘where is that smoke coming from.’ He was saying, “Achoo! Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!” in a silly voice.
“What’s happening? Where’s that smoke coming from?” George said.
“I’m sick because I got piled in snow,” said Woo, the man that said “Achoo!” His hair looked small. “I got a humongous snowflake. One snowflake came from one cloud and it was SO, SO big that it was as big as the cloud! The snowflake made me sick!
They said, “Can we help you?”
He said, “Achoo! Yes!”
The smoke was the breath from his sneezes! They said, “We finally solved the mystery! Let’s bring him to the hospital.” They brought him to the hospital and they checked his ears and his eyes and his snow. All of the rest of them caught a cold, too, after they checked him out and guess what? All of THEIR sneezes made the whole entire world black because of all the smoke that THEY made!
So, everyone got out their flashlights and they got fans. They flew them as high as possible and blew away all the smoke. Now there is only white. White as the blue sky. And they all lived happily ever after.