My new book,
Part 1: 2 Books, Or None, Depends on How You See it.
I spent the days before Christmas in a writing frenzy instead of shopping in time to buy my parents and my Abuelo anything and ship it to them.
I didn't buy the windchimes, the gift books, the Sharpie markers, the lotto tickets; I didn't print out and frame pictures of the kids.
Instead I was going to send them a BOOK for Christmas about this Praying Laughing Frog in my office who brought a beautiful moment into the world.
Bringing a story to life is 1% inspiration and the rest is just damn hard tedious heart wrenching mind challenging work. I wrote and I wrote and I ignored my family (sorry!) and didn't cook (oops!) or do laundry (maybe Santa will bring clean clothes?) and sometimes I had a big tumbler of an adult beverage by me to cement myself in the chair - lemonade and tequila; cranberry juice and vodka; Bailey's in coffee.
It worked. I finished on 12/23 and send the file electronically to a print store by my parents.
Compulsed with the buzz comes when creativity transforms itself into productivity, I then decided to login to Walgreens.com and create a photobook for Abuelo with pictures from Cuba.
That took a few hours and then I hit submit. Fine. It would be ready by 9pm that same night.
At that point I deputized my father - the man whose birthday is on Christmas - to round up the books.
He called after 9pm that night from Walgreens. There was a frustration in his voice.
What name is it under? I give him the order number, one name, another, his name, mine, my email.
He ends it with a tight statement of OK, they have no record of your book, handle this.
OK, I will I tell him sweetly and he goes home.
The next morning my Dad calls me. He is at the print shop. They have no record of your book here. What name is it under? He tries few things. Then he mutters under his breath "I don't like your Christmas gifts this year!" and I lighten it up suggesting this can be our new "holiday tradition" but he answers bullshit and gets off the phone.
I call Walgreens and stay on the line long enough for the woman there -- the one with an accent who understood what a big deal it was to send my Abuelo pictures I took in Cuba of HIS house, hard evidence I was there, it is there -- to figure out the book had been filed under a random letter. Yep, there it was, ready for my Dad.
Then I checked my email. There it was, a notice my print job was ready. Prayer of the Laughing Yoga Frog, 3 copies, ready for pickup. I call my dad. He has already printed out the file I sent him, but OK. Good, he begrudges that I didn't send him on fool's errands and we move on with our long-distance Christmas.
Part 2: The Big Wince
We are opening presents on Christmas; fast forward to me unwrapping a box that had a statue and three cool rocks. One rock tries to run and almost crashes on my foot. I decide to keep an eye on that agate and put it back in the box. Then I unwrap the statue from from its tissue paper.
It is silver and space aged looking.
Don't you like it? It's a FROG!
I look at it again. It looks like the 6 Million Dollar Frog, like what a frog who worked for the Air Force would look like.
It looks tough and cold and hard and I can't even look it in the eye.
It isn't green. It isn't funny.
It isnt' very froggy and nothing at all like my beloved silent yoga-tastic frog and less frogilicious than my sideways swimming windchime frog.
This frog was all business, which makes me by my very nature wince.
Zoe explains it's a powerful frog that will help me "jump into the next part of my life" whatever that meant to her. I shake my head and try to be thankful but I don't want to jump into the next part of my life, I love it where I am, I think unconvincingly and I wrap the frog back up and keep Christmas moving.
Part 3: Bugger
The day after Christmas I open the frog again and read its tag - the frog has a name? - "Bugger".
Bugger: a slang word used to refer to anal intercourse; a curse word to express dissatisfaction.
Bugger the Lucky Frog who is going to make me JUMP alrighty.
I put him up on the mantle and walk away quietly hoping he wasn't checking me out in my yoga pants.
Part 4: 1 Book Down, 51 More to Go
The next day the sun is extra bright and life is happy around here. In the middle of a conversation I ask Zack if he thinks I'll write 5 more books and he answers "I think you'll write 52!! This year!!" which makes me want to hug him and kick him.
52 books in a year is crazy talk but thanks, I tell him, swelling up with some invisible optimism that carries me to find a way to publish my book, the one I wrote before Christmas.
I go online and feel my way around, successfully clicking here, then there.
There's the cover page; the ISBN; now the template. The formatting kicks back errors 9 times; over and over I upload the manuscript until its approved.
I go online and announce I've published my second book.
People comment they didn't know I was writing this book and I add that I didn't know either, but now that I've started moving I'm halfway done with the next book, too, so stay tuned.
The frog, that bugger, gleams from the corner.
He's growing on me.
My new book,