This week, I received my 200.00 prize money from New Southerner for winning the essay contest. Though I feel guilty that I haven’t been contributing to the family coffers, I couldn’t help but feel I should do something for myself with this, the first check offered for my writing. I want to commemorate the occasion, so perhaps I should buy myself a pretty piece of jewelry – a silver llama charm to wear on a chain or something. The essay is about spinning, but I don’t spin at home for lack of some needed equipment. Maybe I should buy myself a carder, which I’ve wanted for eighteen months now, so I can start spinning more as a reward for my writing about the subject well.
The problem is, the idea of buying myself this sort of gift just doesn’t do it for me. What I am feeling about my little ego boost is gratitude, so I want to use the prize in a way that reflects gratitude.
So yesterday, I pulled out my Heifer catalogue and I asked Neva to help me chose how to allocate the spoils. She wanted me to buy a pig, but when I reminded her the money was received for a piece about spinning, she agreed sending a llama to a needy family in a third world country would be most appropriate. This left us with an additional 50 bucks to spend, so we also bought a share in a “knitting basket”, which is two llamas, two sheep, and training to begin a small wool business. A family half way around the world will soon be spinning, not as a hobby but as a life sustaining occupation, because of my writing. They will pass the first born from their gift livestock to another needy family, making this is a gift that keeps on giving. Perfect.
Neva perused the catalogue and said, “Hey, they have donkeys in here, but they are only offered with an entire ark, and that costs five thousand dollars. Maybe when you sell your book we can get one of those.”
Ahem. I wish.
Positive responses to my Donkey book are now filtering in everyday from agents. I am floored. Humbled. Thrilled. The problem is, they all want an exclusive to read and consider the manuscript, so I have to go slow and pick someone I feel will be the best match for me, then prepare for the waiting game. Meanwhile, I worry that the other agents will lose interest if I don’t react in a timely manner. I probably shouldn’t have queried more than a few at first, but I had no idea the book concept would be received with such enthusiasm. Nice to have this kind of problem, but I worry about shooting my wad of opportunity in one frenzied tumble. Best to make love to your book slowly, I think.
I keep going through the book, tweaking it a bit here, adding a bit there. I need to let it go and begin a new project and I know what I want to write next – another memoir, but this one about teaching someone to read. The book will be about self-education with parallels between growing up a dancer and growing up illiterate, two things that severely narrow a person’s world. I know it sounds like a stretch, but this will be a story about two women with diverse life experiences that actually have a great deal in common. They both overcome their limitations by opening a new door and expanding their horizons. At least, in my head, the idea has merit. We’ll see.
I also keep returning to my historicals. Writing those gritty stories is how I party in my head, lose myself in adventure and romance and spin tales to make my toes curl. Yes, in the end, I am a romance and history junky with a great love for another time and place. So shoot me. Man, I wish those were the books that had agents fobbing back my query balls. I still think I would be a kick butt romance writer with books that you could sink your teeth into (rather than silly costume dramas). Maybe someday . . .
Today, the family is going to Atlanta to see Ain’t Misbehavin then to a display of 100 decorated Christmas trees at a holiday expo. I saw this show on Broadway about 25 years ago, so I will probably leave feeling nostalgic, missing dance and the former, younger, me. I figure the Christmas trees will counteract any funk the Broadway fix might trigger. How’s that for strategic planning?
I am eager to put up our own Christmas decorations. I feel a need for festivity. I think it makes the cold easier for me to bear. Granted, I love the change of seasons and any excuse to pull out all those great layered winter clothes. I happen to think I look sporting in a turtleneck . I don’t mind cuddling in a sweater in front of a fire or driving around doing errands in a car with my butt warmer on high. But man, having to go down to the barn twice a day to crack the ice on the water buckets and wrestle with a stiff hose with frozen fingers gets old fast. Tis the season for lugging water from home because the pump doesn’t work outside, sinking into the mud and ruining your shoes, and getting dirty changing light bulbs in the chicken pen to keep the younger birds from freezing. Tis the season to pick ice icicles off of Donkey’s nose and battle the mice that suddenly discover the feed room the only dining hall open this time of year. Yeah, for the next three months it’s all big fun for Ginny.
Ah well. We all know the saying . . . . be careful what you wish for.
Hey I know! I should write an essay about the cold and it will win a contest so I can buy a heater . . . for some needy family living in Antiartica. That would warm my heart, if not my own tush. It’s a plan, man.