There was a sharp brisk knock on my front door today. I found, upon answering it, a man bearing a gift and good news. I signed my name to the package he held and looked at the address of the sender. A broad, wide smile broke through my quizzical gaze.
My pulp baby had arrived, swaddled in cardboard and screaming my name. I held it up to the light as thrills of excitement and waves of satisfaction crashed over me and I couldn’t resist a dance of celebration in the kitchen. My son came out of his room to question the noise and my java jig, and soon joined in. Afterwards I showed him all the parts he was in, and where he could find his name. His joy could almost be felt physically.
This copy of the book is the first hardcopy and had travelled all the way from Tennessee, for my final proof and approval before its final stages on its way to shelves and the mass market.
Holding the book in my hands, touching its smooth cover and the texture of the pages, and reading my words in an actual published book brought on a potpourri of thoughts and feelings. Some were quite surprising. I felt happy, proud, nervous, anxious, and amazed all at the same time. What else but amazement for a dream that actually transformed into a physical form? I also felt exposed. After all, this book was me between the pages, my thoughts, my emotions, even my photography on the cover. Would it be liked? Passed over? Had I made the right choices in color and design? Would readers enjoy the font? All these questions went through my head as I went over each word looking for typos and other mistakes.
Upon reaching the last page of the sixty-poem volume, I sighed and thought of my Dad. I thought about the fact that he had started the ball rolling in my childhood by instilling a love of the written word within me, and a dream of my own published book in his hands developed not long after. He had been my biggest supporter, always asking for the next story or chapter. I am saddened that he is no longer here to share in my celebration. This is a bittersweet experience. Even so, I like to think that even though he is no longer here physically, he still looks in on me from time to time and the next time he does he will be sitting on the other side of things, with a proud smile.