It’s that time of year again. You know what I mean, Girls. Big Award Writing Announcements! Last year when THE CHOSEN ONE was really The Unchosen One it was awfully hard for each of you–and yes, I will admit, for me, too. So many people talked good things that I thought I might have a chance. This year I am going to apologize in advance for not winning anything. And I want to repeat what I’ve said in the past–“It’s okay.”
I don’t write for the awards or for the money or for the fame. There will always be a book better than mine. I write, Sweet Girls, because I love to let stories play out on the page. I write because there is nothing like looking back at something I’ve written and realizing I don’t remember putting that amazing line down–but darn it! I must have ‘cause there it is! I write because I love how I feel to have written.
I write because there is always someone–and maybe it’s just one someone–who says my story changed them. (Also, it’s pretty darn cool when people let you know they loved a book you’ve written. [Is that fame? I don’t think so. It might just be f . . . ]–And to hold a foreign book in my hands–or to become friends with a translator–or to see your cover in so many different lights.)
When KELLY AND ME was first accepted for publication a million years ago, I had no idea that I was even going to get reviews of the novel. I finished that book because I had worked on it since I was 16 (off and on–mostly off) and because I loved telling stories and because I really hoped that I might get published one day. It was one of my Big Goals. So when it was accepted for publication, Wow! What a day in my life! Do you older Girls remember? Then Mary Cash, my wonderful editor, started sending me reviews. I remember thinking, “You mean I have to please more people than just my editor?” It was a startling realization. A bit frightening.
The deal is, with my writing, the Big Buzz News? It’s not going to happen. I just don’t want you all to feel let down. I’m never going to get the Big Buzz News. That’s okay. What’s important to me is that I tell the best story I can. And with the five of you helping me, my fingers (or gingers, when you are a bad typist like I am) are crossed I’m doing that.
What I hope is that YOU all love my books (and it’s okay if MT Anderson or Randy Powell are your favorite authors when I’m not standing there!). I hope you know that I write with each of you in mind. That I want to please you and I want you to feel like the stories are real.
The best creations, the best things I have ever done or ever will do, are the five of you– Elise, Laura, Kyra, Caitlynne and Carolina. Nothing I ever write, nothing I could ever win, no amount of money or honor or anything else will mean more to me than the time I’ve had being your mom. I adore you all, even when you’re driving me crazy.
I had another goal when I was younger–to have ten little girls. While I didn’t quite get the number, the best moments I can remember was finding out you were daughters, holding you–brand new–in my arms, home schooling you, hugging you, reading to you, laughing and dancing and having Junk Food dinners with you. In this wonderful world of writing what matters most to me (this side of God) is you five. And you know what else? I hope, in the end of it all, when God opens that book that shows my life, He’ll read me the places where I was a good person, where I treated others well, where I was compassionate, where I chose to do the Good Things, where I was a successful MOM.
So stop worrying. When I finish writing this depressing book I’m working on now (where people wind up dead or nekkid or both), maybe we’ll drive down to St. George so Kyra can see Jonny. We’ll take Chris and Dan, if they want to go. We’ll see a movie–shop at the used-to-be Albertsons for dinners and, under the cover of darkness, I promise to wear that hideous green DI swimsuit.
Just remember this–I love you.