Yesterday was pretty great. And a little surreal. I went to a book signing for My Pink Champagne Life (available here) in my hometown. And I finally felt authorish.
Holding my finished book in my hand for the first time was so cool. Making the first sale to a long time friend was amazing. Showing my parents that my weird artsy fartsy lifestyle wasn’t in vain was freaking awesome. But if I’m honest with myself, I haven’t felt too much like an author.
I still have my day job. I’m still trying to find time to write this blog with four kids underfoot, much less work on my next project. My kids, frankly, aren’t terribly impressed with Mama’s book since they write books all the time. My three year old showed me her book and said I should write a better book like hers because it had pictures in it. She may be onto something.
I grew up in the middle of farm country. Where, if you drive thirty seconds any direction out of town you would be surrounded by wheat fields. The town itself has two stop lights and sports still reign supreme. It was tiny by any standards but when I lived there, it was my whole world. I didn’t need anything beyond its borders. My friends, my family and everything I loved was contained within its small radius.
On my drive back this weekend, the memories came flooding back. Every turn reminded me of some moment from my past. And then I had the sudden epiphany that I had only lived in my hometown for six years.
Why did I still consider it my hometown? I’ve lived other places much longer. It dawned on me that from sixth grade through when I graduated high school were some of my best, hard, wonderful, life-shaping years. And the town I called home was instrumental in shaping me.
From the moment my family moved there, the town embraced us and adopted us as ones of theirs. Even though we were new. Outsiders. And even though my parents were so embarrassing to me at the time.
There were a whole bunch of people who kept an eye out for me and my siblings. I knew if I got in trouble somewhere in town my parents would know before I rode my bike home. My friends’ parents were authorized to treat me like their kids: put me to work, feed me, ground me, expect me to do my best.
It’s hard to believe six years could make such a difference. But they did. They kept me safe. They broke my heart. They made me try new things. They made me grow and change and start on a path that has led me here. And through the good and bad and ridiculous (judging by the way we wore our bangs back in the day), they planted the seed of the idea that one day I might write a book.
So I went to my hometown for a book signing where former teachers and classmates and friends stopped by, let me hug their necks, and caught me up on their lives. And they bought my book. And asked for my signature.
And said they were proud of me.
Six years. In the scope of my life it’s not much, but in some ways it was everything.
Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015