Fidget & Dot: The Beginning

Eliana and I were out to dinner after her evening eye check up and she started looking at me funny. Turns out I was staring at my food with a stupid grin on my face and a glazed look in my eyes. Oh. And I was nodding occasionally, like I was listening to an invisible conversation in my head.

"Mom?" Eliana had her head cocked to one side, examining me. I'm figuring she was trying to determine if it was polite to ask me if I'd taken my meds this afternoon.

"What?" I looked up her, my eyes clearing a bit. She was annoying me. She had just interrupted the book writing itself in my head.

"So... have you taken your adderall?" She was still eyeing me. Amused, but probably glad she's chosen the back booth while I'd ordered our food. No one else could see me.

"Yes. I mean, no." I dismissed her with an impatient hand of my hand. "I'm writing a book. Well, actually, it's writing itself in my head. I've been working on it for a while now, but I only had the main character and her best friend in my head. I don't know why, but I can literally see the book in my head now."

She smiled, relieved. Mama hasn't lost it, after all. Then she asked me to tell her what I was seeing in my head. This is how you know she's being raised by a writer.

"The main character is named Kateri Ramirez. She's 10 and her nickname is Fidget. She had high functioning autism/asperspers. And her..."

"Oh my god, mom! Eliana interrupted me. Her eyes were dancing with excitement. "Are you serious?"

"Yep! And her best friend is Dorothy and her nickname is Dot. I don't know her last name yet. I think Dot might have ADHD."

"OMGMOM! LIKEYOUANDME."

I grinned. This felt good.

"Yep!" I nodded. "We don't get that a lot, do we? Anyway, you know those Dork Diaries books you love? How they are written like it's a diary? Well, Figdet and Dot start a blog, with their moms' help, and alternate writing blog posts. So, instead of chapters, the book is a series of blog posts." 

Eliana had a stupid grin on her face. I beamed.

"Is Fidget homeschooled? And Dot could go to public school?" Eliana asked me. She looked hopeful.

I shrugged. "Not sure yet. That could be a good thing in the story. Anyway, now you know why Iooked like I was having a conversation in my head. Because I was."

"Can I be your beta reader?" Eliana asked me.

Yep. She's a writer's kid, alright.

"No. I'm kidding. Like I wouldn't ask you? Now finish up. We gotta get home. I've got a book to make happen." 

I blinked.

"Well, after I do the laundry. The dishes. Pack up Etsy orders for shipping tomorrow. Finish that essay I started today. Pitch the essay. Walk the dogs. Pay bills online. Not get lost on Facebook with stupid quizzes. And make daddy's lunch for tomorrow."

Eliana burst out laughing. "Yeah. Okay. You got this, mom." 

Irrelevant

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I'm not an It-Girl.

I don't have legions of fans. I am not a household name. The Internet is not waiting with baited breath for my next witty social media update. I know all of this. Usually, I'm good with it. 

My blog comment section is made up of mostly crickets with a few (welcome) exchanges tossed in for good measure. My Latina Magazine column is widely read but I've yet to see a letter to the editor from anyone who has ever promised to send one in after stopping me in a public bathroom gushing about their favorite question and answer - I think the reigning champ is the on where I told the woman complaining about hating sex with the boyfriend who paid for her prescription medication that she needed to get a J.O.B. (For the record, I love that one, too.) My book cover is a thing of beauty with blurbs from authors I admire and still can't believe were happy to go on record in front of all creation as saying it's worth reading. Sales are decent -it's a slow build - but I'm nowhere near the literary sensation I had let The Husband's supportive cheerleading convince me I was going to become once the book launched. 

I'm not an It-Girl. In the grand-scheme of things, I think, I fall in to the irrelevant category. 

Before you stop me and tell me I'm being too hard on myself and tell me to believe in my ability as a writer, well-meaning reader, know this: I am not ... and I already do.

I wrote my first book when I was nine or 10 and have been looking beyond each No to the next horizon every day since.  Rejection is part of the profession and a tough skin is a requirement, but I don't think there's anything wrong with a little pity-party to get the and jou-jou tied directly to where we think we should be right now out of our systems before putting out big girl panties back on and getting back to work. 

I know I can write.

I know I am good at what I do and I take pride in my ability to craft a story that draws the reader in. If you're reading this as a writer yourself, you know damned well that no matter how panic-worthy each submission process may be that there's a little voice in your head talking all the smack because you are fucking fabulous and you KNOW it. 

Never stop believing that. That little bit of ego? That's what keeps us going when we've got nothing else with which to measure our success. 

I'm not an It-Girl. But I am a writer. Relevant or not, it's me against the blinking cursor and my words against the empty spaces waiting to be filled. I know this. And I'm good with it.