The winter I was writing my book Thin Space was gray and dreary and cold.
My family had recently moved from out of state into a new house. Actually, it was an old house, drafty and dank and kind of depressing. Each morning it was a struggle for me to sit down, open my lap top, and get to work.
Up to this point I had been writing and pursuing publication, somewhat seriously, for fifteen years. Squeezed in here and there around a part-time teaching job and my primary focus of being a mom to my two kids, I'd written five—I was going to say failed novels, but let's call them—"practice books," collected a bulging file folder of rejections, attended multiple writing conferences and retreats, and still wasn't getting anywhere as far as publication went.
The winter I started writing Thin Space felt like a final shot at a dream.
Every day, mostly to avoid the cold, dark house, I'd pack up my stuff and head to the local library, a warm, well-lighted place with lots of cozy chairs and a nice book-ish scent wafting around. Before I began my work each afternoon, I'd browse the young adult section, running my hands across the book spines, imagining my book on the shelf one day.
I made a slot for it on the C-shelf, nudging aside the books that would be its future neighbors, taking it as a good sign that these happened to be novels by two of my favorite authors, Rae Carson and Kristin Cashore.
I kept writing my book.
I finished it. I rewrote it. I rewrote it again.
I sent it out on submission.
Recently, (six years after I finished writing Thin Space) I was browsing around in the library. Almost out of habit, I strolled over to the C shelf in the young adult section.
And there was it was, as if it had always been there, my book, between Rae Carson's and Kristin Cashore's novels.
I don't know what the lesson is here.
The stubborn pursuit of a dream?
The power and magic of belief?
But I will say this: that day, I nudged the other books aside and made a much wider slot for all of the future stories I have yet to tell.
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