A 14 hour shift, from 3:30 AM to 5:30 PM, on two hours of sleep. Not an ideal situation by any means, and made far worse by the reason for it: Black Friday. To say I was exhausted when I got home would the greatest of understatements. Closer would be that I felt like I’d been beaten with sticks and dragged backwards by one ankle through a running bumper car carnival ride. Couple that with the strange, overwound feeling you get when you drink 6 cups of coffee and not eat enough and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how I felt on Friday when I got home.
And then I got this box.
I got the original idea for The Curious Snowflake sometime around the autumn of 2005, give or take. I finally put it down on paper in April of 2009, published it on Kindle in September of 2010, and finally got behind self-promotion of it in late summer of 2013. I first heard of my publisher Booktrope last autumn from my dear friend and fellow author Dennis Sharpe, sent my query email to them in February, got accepted in April, and spent the entire summer in team building, edits, and adjustments. Ten-and-a-half years this idea has been with me. In that time my two youngest children were born, we moved 100 miles from where my wife and I grew up, I went from a part-time librarian to a full-time retail manager, I cut off my ponytail, gained 15 pounds, lost 30, then gained 15 back again, bought a house, went gray and got bifocals. Yet this idea has remained, and my belief in it has never wavered. My philosophy has evolved, deepened, matured, and the edits show that, but the core of TCS is unchanged: curiosity is beautiful, no one really understands life completely, the insistence on being Right is the most damaging idea humans have ever devised, there is no judgment in the Divine, All is One merely appearing separate. The durability of TCS’s basic ideas is my greatest philosophical joy, and my greatest source of gratitude.
And here it is, at long last. I can hold it in my hands.
I opened the box in the kitchen, surrounded by over-bright florescents and that horrible 70’s yellow wallpaper we haven’t gotten rid of just yet, and just smiled. Then I called my wife in and handed her the first copy out of the box. She grinned and threw her arms around my neck, whispering in my ear how proud she was of me. I handed a copy to each of my kids, then took the other 21 into the bedroom, carefully unpacked them, and spread them out on the bed. Then I just sat there and stared at them, too exhausted to do the silly happy dance I otherwise would do, trying to wrap my head around the truth: I am a published author.
I don’t know what will happen now. TCS could continue to flounder in obscurity, despite everything Booktrope and my book manager and I will do. It could sell a few hundred copies, touch a few people, and then be forgotten. It could take off, allow me to be a full-time author, share my ideas for a living. I have no idea. None of that really matters right now, though. What matters is those words, on a page in a real book, those words I wrote over a decade or so, on a yellow legal pad, while sitting on my bed.
“Once upon a time there was a Snowflake.”