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Moments of a Writer's Life, #124


The Moment I Almost Missed The Call: The phone rang and I almost didn’t answer it because the name on Caller ID confused me. I thought it might be a solicitor but then double-thought that – what if it was one of my husband’s customers? – and answered anyway. It took me a while, as though I was on tape delay, to understand what the voice on the phone was telling me. Now let’s flash back to when I was a kid, going fishing with my family, a woman who worked for my father and her 16-year-old son. All my brother and I had for rods were bamboo poles with string tied to the end. The 16-year-old attached the worms for me – I was too squeamish – and then I’d drop my line, wait for a tug and pull up. But there was never any fish on the end, just an empty space where the worm had been. After a while, I decided my efforts were pointless and so I dispensed with the worm, dispensed with any attempt to fish like a sane person. Instead, I cast my line out, almost immediately yanking it back over my shoulder, out, back, out, back, in an almost constant motion of fluid futility. But at one point, having yanked the line over my shoulder, as I was about to cast it right back in, the sixteen-year-old boy shouted, stopping me. I looked down and there, at the end of my string, was a fish. At about nine inches, and considering that river and that equipment used, it was a good-size fish. Certainly, it was the largest fish any of us caught that day. Flash forward to the phone call. I really didn’t know what this woman was going on about – did she want money for something? – but then it got through to me that she was calling on behalf of the Hartford Public Library and she was calling to tell me that Crazy Beautiful was a finalist for a Connecticut Book Award.