I just got back from watching Julie & Julia––a great new movie about Julie Childs and Julie Powell, her blogging/publishing counterpart. At the risk of having to forfeit my Man Card, I must to admit––I absolutely loved it. (But you’re talking to a guy whose favorite film is probably Searching for Bobby Fischer, so I’m a bit more sensitive than the average bear).
Especially because part of the film deals with the travails and triumphs one encounters when puddle-jumping their way through the publishing world. And wow––It brought back so many simple, joyful, and surreal memories––moments that are tragically easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Or as John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”
So, lest I forget, here are a few of those life moments:
- Registering www.jamieford.com, two years before I’d finished my first book, with nothing but my father’s relentless work ethic and my mother’s dream of writing. The last meaningful thing I’d written before that, were their eulogies.
- Having a total stranger read my flash fiction online and email words of praise, encouraging me to reach for the brass ring, proving that random acts of kindness indeed have a place in the world. (Thanks Gin, as always).
- Winning the first fiction contest at Clarity of Night, hosted by Jason Evans. A story about a pregnant woman, morning sickness, and the smells of Thanksgiving.
- Hearing Orson Scott Card tell me, “You should send your story to the New Yorker, they normally print crap, but they don’t always print crap, so you might have a chance.” It took a moment before I realized that was a compliment.
- Ordering dim sum in Seattle and pouring cups of tea for Henry and Keiko. Method writing or schizophrenic moment, you decide.
- Getting that first call from an agent offering representation. Then another. And another.
- Stepping off the elevator at Random House, walking into the boardroom and meeting my team.
- Leaning that, “Lisa See is reading your manuscript and enjoying it.”
- Getting an email from Garth Stein the night before HOTEL went on sale. It read, “Welcome to the Thunder Dome, my friend.”
- Waking up in a hotel in Milwaukee, while on book tour and having 17 voicemail messages––something about the New York Times…
- Writing this blog entry, looking back, and enjoying the view.