Searching for Tina Turner officially hits bookstores today. Kind of anti-climatic? Not! I’ve already been in one store and seen the poster and my book, my book, on the shelf next to authors more famous (hope that rubs off!) than me. But today is the official day. Today is the day my publicist sent out a press release. Today is the day I say, I did it, all day long.
Most, in our society, gauge success by money. This journey of writing has taught me that success is measured, often with “green,” but also in the joy of small moments where our big and little dreams come true.
I never thought that way before. Well, not that I didn’t, more that I didn’t focus on them—those minute successes. How many times do we ignore little successes and victories? A lot. Sometimes we celebrate them for others, but most of us forget to celebrate them for ourselves. I’m not talking birthdays, anniversaries and the like. I’m talking moments.
When my son was about 7 or 8, he was on a T-ball team. He couldn’t hit the ball, or if he did, it dribbled off the T and onto the ground in front of him. When, for some crazy reason we moved him over to regular softball, it was even tougher for him to hit a pitch. Every time he came to bat, my stomach knotted. I crossed my fingers; I prayed. I see him now, in my mind’s eye, dressed in his uniform, the bulky helmet on his head, the resigned look on his face as he walked up to the plate. He struck out every time. But I remember, too, the look on his face that day his bat connected to ball. He was so startled, that he stood at home plate and had to be told to run to first base! That was success for him. That dream come true.
We have successes every day of our lives: snagging a parking space right in front of the place we’re headed to, the smile from a stranger because s/he thinks we look good, getting to the bank just as it closes and the security guard lets you in, making it home before a big storm, eating without spilling food on our clothes, paying monthly bills and having money left over in the bank. Yep! That’s success.
The process, the whole journey of publishing has taught me that success exists in each step along the way: pulling myself together to follow my passion, writing the novel, finding a supportive writing group, pushing through even when it hurt, finishing the novel, submitting the novel, getting an agent, getting a publisher, my editor’s stamp of approval, finishing my edits in time, holding an Advanced Reading Copy in my hands, being Essence’s January 2010 book pic, Black Expressions Book Club choosing me as their “Star on the Rise,” my eight-seven-year-old mother reading my book–the first I’ve seen her read in my life, her telling me that my father would have been proud. Each one of those minutes is a success.
But the day I walked into a local bookstore and saw MY book on the shelf—ahhh, that was a personal success beyond words. So, just like I predicted, I cried in the store.
Today is the official “drop” date for Searching for Tina Turner. Today is the day when you or I will walk into a store and find my book on the shelf. We will thumb through the pages, read the first paragraph, and (hopefully) buy it. If you only knew; if you only knew. The Universe works in strange ways, but I am a writer and there are many stories in me.
The Universe has already decided on SFTT’s fate. I’m hoping she points me toward success, all kinds of success. Like my son stepping up to the plate, I’m a bit hesitant, but very resigned. I misinterpreted my son’s actions when he made his first hit. I thought that he was standing at home plate, because he was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I think now, looking back on that day, that he was taking the time to revel and enjoy his success, and I’m going to follow the example he gave me all those years ago.
I did it!
I said I was going to write a book . . .
Get it published . . .
Hold it in my hands . . .
See it on a bookstore’s shelf.
I am standing still, reveling in my moment. Thankful. Blessed. Whatever comes after, I can’t control. But this sweet moment, this January 27, 2010 . . . . I am filled with joy.