Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fizzled fireworks

As I was on my way out to get a salad from Mountain Mama's (and spend more than I planned, as always, because I was hungry), I nearly tripped over the door mat. Something was underneath it. A package. A white package. I picked it up and checked the label. It's here! The latest addition to my rapidly filling personal book shelf arrived. I tossed it into the foyer and headed out, wanting to savor the moment fully with some food in my stomach and time to call the important people in my life and share the news.

When I got home, had my hummus and salad, nibbled a couple pieces of crystallized ginger that is supposed to end up in ginger cookies for a friend, I ripped open the package and checked the table of contents. Page 39: Amanda's Seeds by J. M. Cornwell. That would be me. I reread the story and it's still good. Page 39.

I called my mother and the phone went to voice mail, so I tried again. I have to call her first because she's threatened to visit with her Chihuahua, Dink, and stay for two months if I don't. I like my quiet cottage and enjoy sleeping in my own bed with my books and journal and laptop computer. All of them and me won't fit on the sofa in the living room and I always get a cramp in my neck when I sleep on it. Besides, there's no room to turn over or sprawl out and I have to actually get up to turn out the light. It's easier to call Mom first.

After three tries and nothing but voice mail, I called Beanie. I would've thought that after eight other books, she could summon a little more enthusiasm for my accomplishment, for another book with one of my stories in it, but, no, the best she could do was, "That's nice. I was taking a nap." The unspoken part of her overly emotional response was that she's like to get back to her nap because she had a headache, as if my news were nothing new and nothing special. Well! I called Mom again. At least she'd be enthusiastic.

"Where's my copy?"

"Mom, I just got my copy of the book."

"Well, send it to me."

"This is my copy."

"What's the title again?"

I repeated it. A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families. Amanda's Seeds, the one the editor kept for four years and contacted me to be included in the book.

"I'll have to go buy a copy. You'd think they would at least include a copy for your family. What's the title again?"

Since it took her six months to get the first book last year, I said, "I'll send you a copy."

" I'm going to need to move Carol's books so I can have a whole shelf of just your books. Make sure you sign it. I want to take it out to Bob and Lois's. I'll take all your books when I go for the graduation party."

"They have all the books. I sent the first two and they bought the rest. Ellen went out and bought all of them."

"That's nice. What's the name of the book again? Dink, I didn't know you were outside. Come on in, sweetheart."

At that point, I knew Mom would fawn over her dog, so I said I had to go. We were done.

"When is your other book coming out, the novel?"

"In July, Mom. I have to go to the bathroom. I'll talk to you later."

"Dink, come here, sweetheart."

We were definitely done.

My family is definitely not effusive or overly emotional, at least not when it comes to my books. They are getting bored with the whole "I got a copy of my book today" news. After nine anthologies and numerous articles and short stories, they have lost their enthusiasm. They can barely remember how many books there are or the titles because they didn't see it on Oprah and it didn't hit the front page of the news or get a feature line on CNN or MSNBC, but they're family.

The ladies at the deli counter in Mountain Mama's were more excited, and they've been through a few of these. One lady, an artist, suggested a book signing at Black Cat Books in Manitou for my upcoming novel. She said to mention her name and asked if I'd come in to sign their copies if they brought them in. They are still as excited as I am about the news. I'd cut Mom off my list if the thought of her and Dink moving in with me for a month or six didn't make me consider moving to the Arctic Circle, but I'm definitely considering crossing Beanie off the list. Her priorities are screwed up. Since when is her nap more important than my news?

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