Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Aspiring Writer

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In a few days I'm going to be part of the Literary Mama Blog Book Tour. Co-editor Andrea Buchanan rightly figures that many moms are unlikely to make it to the bookstore at 7:30 on a cold winter night for a reading, but these same moms might be surfing the net once the kiddos are in bed and will happily read about her book and maybe even go buy it at their convenience. I think it's a great idea and not just because I got a free copy of the book to review.

As I was preparing for the book review I got to thinking about the path my writing has taken and the role that important role Andi has played in it. This is an especially fun time for me to look back on my journey as I just had my first piece published in a glossy magazine.

In 2003, I decided to take my writing-which mostly consisted of sparse journaling-more seriously. This meant that I would record my ideas in a notebook or on my computer on a regular basis and also create some finished pieces that I would then (gulp) try to get published.

I had some long-term thoughts about a book, but my more immediate goal was to have an essay in Brain, Child magazine. Even that seemed a bit ambitious for someone whose had never been published, so I looked through my back issues to investigate the publishing credits of their contributors. Andi's website, phillymama.com, received a few mentions and when I checked it out I was impressed by its content. Plus, Andi was holding a contest! In honor of Mother's Day she was giving away a free copy of her new book, Mother Shock. Contestants were asked to write about an embarrassing mama moment and site visitors would vote on their favorite. The mama with the most votes would win.

Well, it wasn't the most democratic e-voting process as there was no limit to the number of votes a person could make. But I have some pride. I only voted for myself once---a day. I also urged all my friends to vote. We're from Chicago, the town that invented the idea of voting early and often. Needless to say, I won!

Here's my winning entry:

One morning I put my two boys, ages 1 and 3, in the car after a trip to Target to get a pick up an antibiotic for an ear infection. The little one was playing with my keys. He chomped on my keyless entry remote and locked the doors. I took away the keys clicking the remote once to unlock my door, and then tossed the set in the front seat. I shut my baby’s door and went around to the other side to strap in my big boy. To my shock his door was locked!

Panicked, I turned to a family friend that I had just passed on my way through the parking lot. I told her I needed to make a call because I locked my children in the car. We debated whether I should call 911 or my husband who worked nearby. It was a cool spring morning so we decided to call my husband, who immediately dashed off to rescue us.

I went back to my little captives. D’oh! I realized that my big boy, Smartypants, was not yet strapped in. I coached him to climb to the front seat and unlock the doors freeing everyone. Hurray for my little hero! I immediately called my husband’s office, but he was already long gone.

The boys and I strolled around the parking lot for about 15 minutes waving happily at my confused husband upon his arrival. He was very calm and cool about the whole ordeal.

Hours later as I reflect on the morning’s events, I realized that not only was my big boy unstrapped, but that the driver’s door was unlocked throughout the entire episode!

Shortly after this incident we both got cell phones.

1 comment:

jim mcnelis said...

Good story! Glad it turned out ok, in spite of your efforts ;)

I remember my cell phone inspiration was finding the one secluded spot in all of the cozy north suburbs where your car can slide off a snowy road into a ditch, and you could ruin your nice work clothes trouncing around in the snow looking for a house to make a phone call from. That was about 1992 and I've saved every cellphone I've bought since then. I'm building a nice little technology archive/shrine that my kids will marvel at someday.