On my last vacation day in Colorado, one of the many things I will miss the most is the almost daily visit from one of the friendly foxes that roam our neighborhood. This one, in particular, would sit in the front yard sunning himself while the crows squawked their disapproval. Another, scrawnier fox would make his way up the back deck stairs and sit at the screen door looking in. They may be known for their craftiness or cunning, but, to me, they were mountain messengers.
After a long year of unpredictable, heartbreaking parental illnesses, these foxes reminded me that the unexpected isn’t always a terrible shock or an experience to be avoided at all costs. Oh yes, I like to be in control and I’m a planner by nature. So I’m not the type to welcome the unexpected into my world. Nope, I’m the one saying, “Excuse me,” (because I’m a Southern girl), “What the hell are you doing here?” (because a cuss word is like a bodyguard who gets the point across just by being there.) “Get on outta here, Unexpected.”
But thanks to the foxes, I’m rethinking the unpredictable. You can be beautiful and utterly captivating. And I can’t help but catch my breath when I see you because I don’t want you to disappear if I exhale. Then that born-and-bred Southern hospitality takes over. “It’s so good to see you! Sit for awhile. Have a homemade chocolate chip cookie and some iced tea.”
From what I can tell, the foxes will happily come right in.
As a writer, I often wondered how I’d feel if a friend published a novel before I did. Would I be jealous or would I actually feel a true sense of joy for him or her? (And to clarify “published,” I mean by a publishing house and not through self-publishing.) Well, now I know.
Tim Lewis and I met seven years ago at The Writers’ League of Texas Conference where we were pitching our fiction manuscripts to the same agent. Though the agent requested material from both of us, then took a vow of silence, Tim and I kept in touch. At first, we communicated to find out if either of us had heard from the agent, but then, we kept talking because a writer’s life is isolating and our emails and occasional phone calls were like life jackets keeping us afloat. We have lifted each others’ spirits when we were losing faith in our dreams and have inspired each other to stay the course and write, not for publishing success, but because we felt the call to write and couldn’t imagine being happy not writing.
Tim’s novel, Forever Friday, is going to be released September 3rd by WaterBrook Press. And I’m happy and incredibly relieved to say that I feel nothing but joy for him. Somehow, I feel as though I share in his success, that our mutual struggle has been rewarded. It may not be happening to me (yet,) but it’s the next best thing. So move along Ms. Envy because I’m not listening to your whining. I’ve got some serious celebrating to do. Congratulations, Tim! Woo hoo!