Later yesterday, when I was ready, I did the trip back out to the mailbox and retrieved the package. I carefully slit open the tape, peeled back the brown box, and there it was. The anthology The Ultimate Mom.
I went straight for the table of contents: whew, I spelled my name right on the submission form. Page 34. “The Impromptu Birthday” by Jane Koenen Bretl. It looks great! Nothing had been edited in the story, which was a relief since the contract stated that last minute edits may be necessary. In my mind, I thought that might be half of the tale when they came to their senses. They printed it pretty much word for word; just edited my punctuation since I am a bit ambitious: about colons; semicolons and — dashes. My 50 word bio in the back is the revised copy with my blog address. Whew again.
I felt happy. And relieved. And proud. And excited. And then I put the wet laundry in the dryer and realized that, once again, there is nothing prepared for dinner.
Let me be very clear here: I wrote one little story that is in an anthology with many other wonderful stories about the joys and challenges of motherhood. My story is about potty-training, and a lie that I told my kid. It is in the section “Merriment and Mishaps”. The reality does not escape me, this auspicious start, to have my first published clip be about poo. And me lying.
The Ultimate Mom. The title of the book is a lot to live up to. As the late afternoon sunshine slanted in through the front windows, I held the book and gave a cursory glance around me: an impressive 20 foot line-up of dirty laundry baskets still undone, the breakfast dishes inexplicably still on the counter, and no dinner in sight. In the big, big story of motherhood, I am just an imperfect contributor.
But I smiled, because I am a writer.
And I am thankful that the publisher did not conduct a home visit as a qualification.
Congratulations, girl! I can’t wait to pick up the new book (even though I know your story). I want to see it and read it and feel it??? Is that correct to say? feel the book as I read the story…. anyway, Good thing that story does not come with pictures like your blog stories. In all your excitement, not sure what kind of picture we’d see with that story of poop, lies and cake.
Its good to know that beyond the housework, beyond the laundry, the bills, the sticky breakfast bowls, and the grocery list, there is YOUR TIME, time to curl up with a good book or with your computer blog. Time to help us all appreciate ourselves, our lives, our crotchety neighbors that amuse us, and our friends who support us.
Your time helps me appreciate my time and my life! : =)
May this be the first of your many successes.
Cindy Zahneis said:
Yeah, Jane! I am sure it will be the first of many published works. I just showed my young aspiring writer (Meggie) your website and she is SO IMPRESSED. As am I.
Karen from Mentor said:
Woo Hoo Jane!
Congratulations. Can’t wait to read the story.
I loved your tiny moment of joyous pride followed by the reality check of laundry and dinner prep.
Bob Seger once said in an interview responding to a question about being a rock star: (and I’m paraphrasing)
Yeah, it’s great, you’re on the road for weeks at a time with thousands of screaming fans adoring you. Then you walk into the house and your wife says “hi honey, will you put the trash out?”
congrats again, Ms. Published author!
YAY!!!! I’ll toast you in the most Irish of ways tonight – I think it involves slurring and a river dance. 🙂
And extra congratulations at getting your name spelled correctly!!
You are #469,838 on the Amazon.com sales list! But hey, you’re way ahead of the tens of millions of people who aren’t there! Keep climbing!
Woo-hoo! Congratulations!! Do I hear “screenplay”?!?!
You go, girl!!! Congratulations and I hope this is your first publishing success of many!
Now if I could just follow in your footsteps…