You might remember the chapter where I talked about getting first-runner-up in the Miss Walcott Day Pageant. I was disappointed, but Shelly had me laughing in roughly 1.6 seconds. Well, this time, my crown will not be taken away by a girl from Durant who sold more buttons than me. And I (probably) won't be wearing white L'eggs nylons when I accept my award. I wish Shelly could be by my side this time around, but I'm 99% sure she's been doing spastic splits jumps since I found out the news. Our story matters to people. I think I just might do some splits jumps myself.
Ow. Forget that shizz.
But enough about me. (Oh, we will definitely be getting back to me.) The other two finalists in my category had me writing my concession speech from the moment I found out I was being considered. (Snot would most def be running down my face, but it would be eloquent, dammit!) Chicago Sketches by Richard Reeder and Records Truly is My Middle Name by John Records Landecker/Producer Rick Kaempfer are no small potatoes. Upon initial investigation, they both seemed more like "real" books to me. Very respectable, well-written, totally professional. I wasn't sure WHYLTS had a chance. Maybe it's because I saw mine when it was 300 pages of unedited, unformatted brain spew. Or because I spent months querying literary agents and pitching publishers, wondering if it'd ever see the light of day. I could go on and on with all the steps I stumbled through, but in the end, I DO have a real book. And thanks to this award, it feels even realer. (I know it's not a word. But I like it.)
This whole process has been one big teeter totter. (Remember when the mean kid would suddenly hop off the bottom while you were on the top? My tailbone remembers it quite well.) Anywho, yes, publishing a book consists of constant ups and downs. Today, it's up. Extremely. Up.
Regardless of sales, publicity, and all that other soul-crushing business junk, this book has brought so much positivity to my life. It's brought me closer to Kim, Shelly's sister. (We're closer in the way that we now walk to the cemetery together late at night with sneaky whiskey drinks and have "Shelly parties" when I'm home. I think we also freak a lot of people out in the process.) I already had a great bond with Shelly's parents, but we now have a bond-on-steroids. Along with my own family, they are my biggest cheerleaders.
It's brought me closer to preeclampsia survivors. One of the themes in the book is about how life is better when you let other people in. I continue to learn that in spades. So many women have been affected by this disease. And they aren't sad, quiet, mousy women. They are bold, and strong, and freaking hilarious. I feel like they've let me into their crew because of my connection with Shelly. Seems a lot like high school…in the best possible way.
On that same note, the relationship I have with Hailey, Brad, and Michelle is nothing short of amazing.
And of course, this experience has continued to heal my heart. Every email I receive, every conversation I have, where someone tells me about their "Shelly" inches its way into my psyche and consoles any broken pieces that are still floating around in there. So thanks for that.
You guys, I won an award!
Thank you for all the support.
A couple more things:
- The Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation is under way. I will keep you in the loop as things progress.
- I'll be signing books at the Blankets for Babies event in Chicago. A percentage of each sale will be donated to the cause. Buy tickets here.
- If you're interested in getting a signed copy for the holidays, send me a note. (See "contact" tab.)
- No matter what you're reading, there is an author somewhere "casually" stressing over what you think about his/her book. (Unless you're reading Drinking and Tweeting by Brandi Glanville.) If you like a book, review it on Amazon. Especially if it's my book. It helps the author out, big time.