If your heart and soul is a book. Which, let’s be honest, mine totally is.
Over the past year, I’ve been laboring over my first novel, “Red Rain Boots,” (for now) and I finally put the–for now–finishing touches on it this past Monday. I made my final revisions, closed the document, and immediately began sending query letters to agents. But that’s not what this post is about.
About a month and a half ago, I had the brilliant idea of giving my book to my mom as a Christmas present. This might not seem like a big move, but for the past, oh, my entire life, I’ve been telling her she’s not allowed to read my work until it’s published. Occasionally I’ll send her a short story or a handful of poems (in fact, one Christmas a few years ago I gave her a stack of poems), but for the most part I’ve stuck to my promise: she can’t read it until it’s published.
I’m still not 100 percent sure why I do this; it’s a combination of privateness, insecurity and the fear of becoming one of those people who writes novels that only their mother reads. That’s not the plan. Not at all.
Nonetheless, I made up my mind and set about on my brilliant plan to completely surprise and overwhelm her on Christmas day. I’d like to think I succeeded.
I spent a lot of time scheming. My father and I locked ourselves in his office and printed off all 142 1.15-spaced pages onto parchment paper, hole-punched them, tied it up with ribbon, curled the ends of the ribbon, wrapped it up. Then my father wrote: “To: Becky, Love: Santa Clause,” so my unsuspecting mother would assume it was a gift from my father. The surprise was assured. Now to make sure she was completely convinced she wouldn’t get my book as a present, I had several conversations with her in which I promised, time and time again, that it wasn’t going to happen. And after opening a pair of sweaters from me, she was sure: her Christmas wish of getting my book wasn’t going to happen.