I keep a box under my desk. My handwriting graces a tab on it and reads, "Feel Good, Inc." Inside are things that make me happy. Notes from friends, a drawing by my daughter, a bottle cap from a night out with my husband, the cork from a champagne bottle we shared on our wedding night, a book of post-its with kind things written on them, a letter from my sister-in-law that I didn't get until after she'd died...other things, too. These things are tangible reminders that there is good in my life, that my existence is worthwhile and that I am loved.
Sometimes, there are reminders that are not tangible. They're words spoken that I have to store in my memory, or a look across a table, a text message or a Facebook status, a kind review on Goodreads.
I recently received two such reminders that I want to share. No, this isn't gloating or saying, "Look at how loved I am". I just feel the need to show you something good in a world gone crazy. Take this as you will.
With everything going on in the world... #Ferguson (yes, I hashtag it), ISIS, executions, bombings, ebola, death...I'm living my little life. My daughter is back in school and I am working on making UNVEILED ready to meet the world in November. The last round of meaty edits is done and we're in the process of proofreading. The cover artist and I have decided on a model for Cat Sharp, and I am working on taglines and back cover copy. It's not much in the grand scheme of life. It's not going to save lives or solve the systemic problems in our country. The book isn't something deep and moving like Dead Poets Society, nor is it something raw and badass like a Jim Butcher story.
I posted something like this to my Facebook page, saying that UNVEILED is pretty insignificant in the scope of all things. I was then told by a friend that she recommended WILD CARD (book 1 in the same series) to a friend of hers. That woman gobbled the book up, texting our mutual friend hourly and posting to her tumblr account about how excited she was to read about a bisexual woman working in IT represented as an urban fantasy heroine. She saw herself there and apparently that meant the world to her.
The other thing... well, my 93 year old grandmother and I were on the phone and she asked how the writing was going. I told her that my story in Two Hundred Twenty-One Baker Streets (out in October) is being well-received by early reviewers. Told her that I'm working hard on UNVEILED and I have a great idea for my next book. I could hear the smile in her voice when she said, "I'm proud of you. Your grandfather would be, too, if he were here."
... I honestly can't remember the last time one of my grandparents told me they were proud of me. I'm sure it was back in high school or college, or maybe after I had my daughter and they saw that I was succeeding as a mother (read: keeping my daughter alive.)
It just kinda stopped me in my tracks, ya know?
It means the world to hear the words spoken, to know that what you do matters and that the people who matter to you see your work as valid and worthy. That you inspire pride in them.
Bad reviews happen. Good ones come in and stroke the ego. But my grandmother telling me she's proud of me? Priceless.
What are some happy things you keep under your pillow to remind you of the good in the world?