|Photo Courtesy of xMatt|
To say I feel grateful right now would be a HUGE understatement. When I announced my big news about signing with Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates earlier this week, I expected a few cheers and high fives. I expected a couple of really nice comments, and I expected the buzz to last fifteen seconds or so.
What I didn't expect was an outpouring of so much encouragement and congratulations that my Twitter feed felt like an actual party for a couple of days. I didn't expect so many amazing and thoughtful comments on this blog, and I certainly didn't expect so many of those comments to be rallies about overcoming obstacles, staying true to myself and not taking "no" for an answer.
It was humbling for me to realize how many of you have been here for me all along--even when I was agent-less and manuscript-less and insecure about whether or not I even had a place here.
In an effort to expand my platform, I took a stab at creating an author page on Facebook last night (even though I hated the fact that I couldn't call it a "writer" page instead). I sent out a request on my personal Facebook page to see if anyone would mind "liking" it for me, and I was once again floored by the response.
Overnight, my page went from zero likes to 55 likes. It's up to 79 likes now, and I keep getting more hits every time I refresh my page. (Here's the link if you would like to visit: LisaAnnChickos.)
Here's why I'm all choked up about this. Probably two-thirds of the people who have "liked" my Facebook author page so far have zero percent interest in young adult fiction. Many of them don't even dig reading novels.
These are my friends from high school, my zookeeper co-workers, my roommates, my travel buddies, my hubby's best friends from rugby and the Coast Guard. These are people whose natural inclination would be to walk right past my novel in a bookshop, but they have taken the time to "like" my page anyway.
They have done this without thinking, and they have done this for one reason: they have done this because I needed them. It's not about the novel; it's not about the writing. It's about the fact that I asked for support, and they were here for me.
As many of you know, I have been quite the nomad since my high school graduation. In the past twelve years, I have lived in FIFTEEN different houses in NINE different cities in FIVE different states in TWO different countries in TWO different hemispheres.
In some ways, this is incredible. I have experienced many really unique situations, I have seen countless amazing things and I have met lots of interesting people. I have been given the opportunity to reinvent myself time and time again, and I have learned who I really am when you take away all the constructs.
At the same time, I have missed out on so many things. I have had to say goodbye--not only to good friends, but to best friends and soulmate friends. I have had to rip myself out of places I have loved, and I have had to bid farewell to animals I've raised since the moment they were born. I have missed weddings and births and celebrations and deaths. I have been absent for little moments--like my sister's graduation from medical school or my grandmother's 80th birthday party. I wasn't there to attend my mother's retirement dinner, and I have barely seen my sister's increasingly swollen pregnancy belly.
I ache for the kind of community many of my friends have: the type of network where almost everyone you love lives within driving distance. I ache for the kind of day-to-day camaraderie that grows from long friendships, and I ache for a time when I don't have to give potential friends an elevator pitch of who I am in 100 words or less.
My husband and I are on the right track. We have finally settled in Colorado after many years of wandering, and we hope to buy a house and start a family sometime in the next few years. We hope to begin finally putting our roots down, and I honestly can't wait for that moment.
I tell you this because I am reminded today of how lucky we already are. Although we have had to say goodbye to so many people we care about, your posts and "likes" remind me that you guys haven't really gone anywhere. Although I don't get the pleasure of seeing you every day like I would like, you are still here for me after all this time.
The world suddenly seems a little smaller and a lot less overwhelming.