Fleeting Moments to Freeze

Posted Aug 1 2012, 7:00 am in , ,

August 1st is finally here! SEND is officially being shipped today, though Barnes & Noble stocked their shelves a few days early.

Excuse me for a moment while I bask. *sighs*

I can’t believe this day is here. This is a bucket list moment — truly. I recently found a old elementary school assignment in which I had to plot out what I wanted to do for my entire life. It was a grid that had space for my twenties, thirties, forties, all the way up to age 100. I remember my eyes popping at the final space. I completed the assignment. I’d planned to attend nursing school and work as a nurse in my twenties. Get married and have babies in my thirties. Retire from nursing and write kids’ books in my forties and die at a hundred. 

A hundred years seemed like an eternity to my thirteen-year-old self. To my *coughs* much older self, a hundred’s not that far away. Worse, this much older self knows what my thirteen-year-old self did not…  death could happen at any time. Yet, as I read that old paper, I realized my predictions weren’t too far off the mark. I did attend nursing school. Briefly. For about eighteen months before I realized I’d picked the wrong vocation. I got married and had babies in my twenties, finishing college at the same time. But here I am in my forties, my first young adult novel out in the real world.

*sniffles* I wish my mom had lived long enough to see this day. She’s the one who taught me to read, to love books, and — though she was exasperated at the time — told me to go write myself a life, after I’d whined too long about the insignificant nonsense consuming mine. I was in my thirties at the time and what she’d said hit me like a fist to the gut — I hadn’t written anything more glamorous than a shopping list in years.

Funny how easy it can be to lose the things that make us… well, us.

So, I started writing again. Little things like essays, editorials, articles for various organizations to which I’d belonged at the time. The allure of the novel… well, that eluded me. I tried. Over and over again. But I always gave up. I didn’t trust my ability — hell, sometimes I still don’t.

But one day, I finally did finish a novel. And another. And another after that. I was afraid to let anyone read them. I didn’t think they were any good. She read them all. Her favorite was Border Lines, a contemporary romance about a doctor who falls for a journalist writing the story that ends up shutting down her free clinic. The hero in this story is actor Gilles Marini, though I did not plan that. I happened to be flipping channels one day and there he was… the character I THOUGHT I’d made up… living, breathing, and dancing a mambo.

I called Mom immediately, told her what channel and said, “It’s him.” She knew immediately what I was talking about. “Oh, my God, with long hair and a British accent, that could be your Thomas!”

I kept writing even as cancer slowly killed my mother. A week before she died, she looked at us, my sister and me, and said, “I thought there’d be more time. I really thought there’d be more time. I wish I’d fallen in love again. I wish I’d had more children.”

She had so many regrets. And I couldn’t help thinking about that silly homework assignment from eighth grade and how long a hundred years felt like and how I’d wasted so many of them worrying about insignificant crap and what people thought and what they might say, I almost missed it. I almost missed this… this moment, right here. Book Birthday Day. I almost let it go.

Celebrate it with me. It’s the best day of my life, ranking right up there with the day my sons were born or the day I got married. Celebrate it with me, because so many of you reading this right now helped me reach this point.


A hundred years isn’t very long at all.



6 responses to “Fleeting Moments to Freeze”

  1. Linda Grimes says:

    Bask in the glow of the day, Patty! You deserve it. And I’ll be dancing with you! Wheeee….!!!

  2. abby mumford says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! you’ve earned this book birthday! now go eat some chocolate cake in celebration. :)

  3. You totally made me tear up!! Congratulations! You have earned this lovely, incredible, wonderful day!!


  4. Patty Blount says:

    Thanks, everybody!

  5. Oh, wow. This is so beautiful and sad and inspiring, all at the same time. I’m so sorry about your mother, but it sounds like she was an amazing role model. Congratulations on following your book publishing dream. May it be everything she ever wanted for you – and everything you ever wanted for yourself.