Some years ago, when thought of writing with the intention to publish was still a private one, I got the best advice. This bit of advice sustains me to this day.
It was a cozy morning of light rain falling outside, and tea and cookies inside. I was the mother of a kindergartner and a preschooler, and another mother from my son’s class asked me to her home for tea. I thought it was a getting acquainted sort of invitation. It turned out to be more than that.
The other mother showed me her work space, a corner oak table with a computer, and printed manuscript pages scatted about. She was writing a novel. She had asked me over not to talk about our sons or their school. She asked me to her home because she was hoping to pick my brain.
Really? With what I thought I had put out, I couldn’t imagine what pickings were there. But a comment I had made about a biblical character had sparked her fire, and now it was smoldering, just like the logs in her fireplace. I am so immersed in Old Testament stories it had not occurred to me that whatever I said reverberated. I didn’t even remember the comment. Now her fire was dying down and she had invited me to re-ignite it.
© Baba Buffalo
I no longer remember what her novel was about, only that the biblical character of Rachel bore some resemblance to her main character. But the whole setting sent me into a place I had neglected.
Except for my husband, on our very first real date, I never told anyone I intended to write for children. The chance of ever being published seemed remote, and it was better to keep such an endeavor private. But for some reason I told this mother, who I barely knew, about my secret hope and ambition.
“I have a few stories I would like to tell before I die,” I said.
She asked if I’ve been writing, and I said, “Not yet.”
“Maybe,” she said, “just maybe, if you don’t think of it as something to finish before you die, you might start and then even finish one.”
It was one of those sacred moments. Someone I barely knew had given me the key to unlock the door.
I have lost touch with this writer long ago. I heard she was agented and that her novel had sold. I looked for it periodically under her name, but never found it.
Wherever you are, KC, I owe you this chapter in my life.