We who continue on our author journey are brave. Here's why...
Under the hot sun, Susan M. Johnson drips sweat like candle wax. She longs for air conditioning.
“I should have taken the car,” she mumbles, kicking a rock.
No, if it came, the walk back will give me time to clear my head.
Each step is a tiny prayer. “Please be good news. Please accept me.”
She isn’t a virgin. Susan has taken this walk numerous times before. Her mind is full. What are the chances? Slim to none. How many times have my efforts yielded a negative response? Oh, I don’t need to count them. I know how much of a loser I am.
Why does she do this to herself? Any sane person would ask. And the question has taken shape in Susan’s mind. Is she masochistic? No, it’s worse. She is a hopeless romantic. She believes in happily-ever-after endings. One day—someday it will be there, she repeatedly tells herself. Today could be the day.
All too soon the walk is over. Ready or not it’s time to face the cold, hard reality. She searches for her keys. They’re always at the very bottom of her purse.
Several deep breaths and then she slips the mail key into the lock. Her hand gropes the dark cavern for the contents: bill, bill, bill, junk mail, letter, bill, bill.
“Smith & Gordon Publishing House.” Susan steals herself, preparing for disappointment. She tears open the envelope; skims the letter.
“Dear Ms. Johnson, it is our pleasure to inform you that your manuscript has been accepted for publication.”
What? What. No, Yes. Really? She places a hand on the mailbox, leans on it, and tries to breathe. She blinks, rubs her eyes, and re-reads the letter. “Ms. Johnson...your manuscript...accepted.” Like a student on the last day of school, she runs all the way home.
“They want me! They want me!” She crows until her husband joins her in the kitchen.
He pulls a chair from the table and places it in front of her. “Sit.”
Bum on chair.
“Okay, now tell me what happened—slowly.”
“This. This.” She trusts the letter at him.
He reads the letter. “This?”
“Yes, this,” Joy quickly replaces annoyance. “It’s good— No, it’s great news.”
“Yes, it is, but not for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“What was the title of your story?”
“Good Girls Do.”
“And they want to publish?”
“It. I know. That’s what I’ve been—.”
“God on a Holiday.”
His finger underlines the title.
“They made a mistake,” he tells her. “Johnson is a common surname. This acceptance letter belongs to someone else.”
Her bottom lip trembles, but she tells herself, I will not cry. This isn’t the letter but it will come. It will. All I have to do is continue to write, submit, re-write, believe, and keep walking to the mailbox.
Why are we brave? Because, despite everything, we continue to believe that we will succeed in this writing game we so love.