Book, Birthday, Belk and Beyond

As a soon to be published ‘real’ author, I’m obviously excited about holding my first book and feeling the solid proof of accomplishment. Not that I’m lacking pride regarding all the bylines I’ve accumulated over the years, or that knocking out-articulating in writing a blog for others to agree or perhaps just say hmmm… about doesn’t float my boat, BUT…

I don’t believe I’m the only one that feels this way, but a book somehow marks your passage in life as a writer. No matter how many times I mentioned I was a writer, one of the first two inevitable questions was, “Have you written a book?” With kudos to the Grantland Rice’s or Jim Murray’s who cranked out more sports articles than there are drunken, nearly naked sophomores on a Spring Break beach, ‘CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent’ means I’m definitely not a wanna-be. It’s not ‘War and Peace’,’Sister Carrie’, or ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ literature, but its as I envisioned it when I began, and whenever somebody takes it to the register, I’ll get a confirmation I did something worth while.
Mom’s surprise 80th birthday at the beginning of the month (actually a week earlier, which was the surprise) was one of those moments every son I know wants to tell people about, because in a very real way it DOES prove you’re a Good Person and you love your Mom a lot more than they can ever put in a Hallmark card.

Two other brothers from Charlotte and I (the NY guy was already there) arrived in Tampa after 1:30 a.m., woke her up, let her go back to bed, then had a houseful of people to greet her when youngest bro Dave returned with her from a seashell exhibit in St. Pete later in the afternoon. When they pulled up in front of the house, I heard Mom say, “Oh, now I get it,” because Dave had been telling her all week the guy next door was going to have a party, and had asked about people parking on her property. She cried and hugged people all the way to the door, and if it seemed a little silly at times that we were congratulated for doing something so special when I kind of assumed anyone would WANT to do that for their Mom, in my heart I know she’ll remember it until she really doesn’t remember anything.

As for the MSER where we peasants will generally be getting back to 35 hr. work weeks after *three full months* of budget-straining skinny checks ($460 for two weeks can keep a single guy with no mortgage, kids in school, or car payment going, but anything extra, sheeee-it!), it only took ONE very helpful recruiter to listen to me explain my resume and say, “I’ll rewrite it a little so you can see what a recruiter is looking for,” to restore my confidence about getting out of retail in the near future.

Having achieved that career event of ‘first book published’ and gotten nearly 20,000 words into the next, I’m looking forward to the marketing challenge of selling those 65 units I self-published, doing a book signing at Maggiano’s, having a friend say, “You were right, reading this DOES go great with a couple glasses of chardonnay.” Getting to break-even (only 150 copies) is a legit mark, as is 1,000 units, and maybe a royalty check bigger than my BPBPJ (bill paying, benefit providing job). It all seems more possible now, and if my NCAA bracket picking brings a return on my $20 investment, I’ll take that as another positive.

Friends and people from work keep saying, “Good luck with your book, and I’ll be able to say, ‘I knew him before…'” and that sounds REAL damn good to me.

Glenn S.