That's me, circa 1985 in Oregon, beaming over the first money I ever received for my published work: a best-forgotten short story called "Dance of the Dinosaurs" which appeared in the just-launched Eugene Magazine.
That's me,* an hour ago, holding my first book contract.**
Between those two photos are the things you cannot see, all the ingredients which go into the stew of a writer's life: college, three children, wedding anniversaries, birthday parties, the braces, the training bras, the homework wars, the cutting of Christmas trees, the hiding of Easter eggs, the wedding of one of those three children, folding the laundry, pushing shopping carts, the dogs, the cats, the hamsters, the VCR, the DVD player, the TiVo streaming Netflix, car rides, car repairs, car washes, the laughter, the tears, the words you regret, the happiness, the sorrow, the uncertainty. And of course, the writing. Always the writing. All those words--the good ones, the bad ones--which bridge the years between "Dance of the Dinosaurs" and Fobbit.
Has it been worth the wait?
Damn straight it has.
*I apologize for the crappy quality of the photo. My cat took the picture and, despite all the lessons I've given him, hasn't mastered the paw-and-shoot camera.
**At the bottom of the contract, Grove/Atlantic describes Fobbit like this: "A darkly comic novel in the mold of Catch-22 set at a forward-operating base in Iraq at the height of the Iraq war." I like that.