Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks, Big Guy

Hang on to your hats, all you tough padres, 'cause I'm gonna get sloppy now.

A little over a year and a half ago I went to Bouchercon, the big mystery conference, in Anchorage.

I knew a couple of people, but they were busy with all of their published-person stuff - I'd see them standing in groups talking and laughing with the other Published, and while they were unfailingly kind, I was so intimidated I could barely put words together and so fraught with longing that I felt like a violin's E string wound so tight on the peg it was ready to snap.

I had written so much, for so long, and I just couldn't get a break. I was starting to wonder - not in my conscious mind, because my conscious mind is a badass and never gives up - deep down in the craggy dark places if I would ever sell a book. I was not at my best, and I have a few mortifying memories to prove it - I was trying too hard, overcompensating, and I didn't know when to quit. (That's that relentless mind of mine. Great asset, great liability.)

Because I'm me, I didn't go back to my room and mope like a sensible person. I forced myself to keep trying. Earlier in the day I had met a beautiful, gracious woman in line for something or other - and for no good reason at all that I could figure out, she gave me her cell number and suggested I call her if I was looking for something to do that evening because she'd be out with a group of friends and she was sure they'd love to have me along.

I was pretty sure she was just being polite, but I called her anyway. She named a bar across the street. I went. Her friends were nice. They sang, they danced, we all had a few drinks. At the end of the evening she said she'd see me soon, and even though I wasn't at all sure that would happen, I was deeply grateful to her for including me in the evening. Because of her kindness, I calmed down a little, got up the next day, and kept going.

A lot's happened since then. Today my issue of Romantic Times came in the mail. I opened it up to the mystery section and found my review for my first book - and right across from it, on the facing page, her review, for her fourth. I immediately called her up and left her a half-rambling, half-choked-up message. Because, see, we're still friends. In fact, we still hang out. Since October 2007 we've shared about a thousand laughs and a few tears. There was an incident with a knife...another with a toy poodle and mayonnaise...well, I digress.

It pains my cynical heart to admit it, but once in a while life/The Big Guy gives you a gift for no good reason at all. And that night the gift was J.

1 comment:

Juliet Blackwell said...

Now you're getting ME all choked up, and as I'm sure you know, THAT never happens! What did Anais Nin say, that every new friend was a whole new life for yourself you've never envisioned before? (something like that...)
Anyway, it wasn't exactly tough to make friends with such a funny, whip-smart, beautiful bad-ass. And your writing success is no wonder: hard work, perseverance, and a smidgen of luck, that's all it takes.
Love you!
--Julie