Christmas morning. 1992. I woke frantic. A commotion rang from our basement. I popped from bed, snatched a sweatshirt from the floor, and dashed toward the noise. Wild strands of bedhead stood upright like blonde fingers sprouting from my head. My heart thumped as I chugged toward my parent’s cackles and the zinging sound of a scoreboard whistling higher. I skidded across the slick basement floor when I reached my destination, my eyes bulging and my arms flailing. Christmas had arrived. And so had my gift: a 10-feet long arcade style hot shot basketball system that rose from the ground like a monument made of metal tubing and mesh and adorned with rubber basketballs, a scoreboard, and countdown clock.
For a new author, I suspect that seeing your book in a bookstore is like waking on Christmas morning and finding that long-awaited present under the tree. At least it was for me.
Indies First is a national grassroots movement started in 2013 by author Sherman Alexie (if you haven’t read Mr. Alexie you must) to support local, independent bookstores during small business Saturday. And I am grateful to Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry Road in Cleveland for allowing me the chance to participate in their Indies First event last month.
Standing among words I’ve long admired and wished I could have written reminded me how far I’ve come as a writer in three years – and how far I still have to go. Seeing To Dad, From Kelly propped in a bookcase and armed with a price tag was like waking up and finding the perfect present under the Christmas tree – if that present had taken three years of begging and pleading to receive. I watched customers thumb its pages. Some turned it down but for others I autographed their new copy. I felt proud, honored, and grateful. I was happy.
Writing To Dad, From Kelly exhausted me. But I finished. And seeing my stories next to so many others on a bookshelf is a sweet reward.