Okay, at long last, I'm handing over my manuscript to my first readers, Wendy and Erin. After that, I have another tier of readers who have also honored me with the offer to read my work. I say that they are honoring me because they are committing to reading a 384 page manuscript and they have no idea if it's any good. They honor me by taking a chance on me. It's extremely humbling.
So, let me tell you about Wendy and Erin. Wendy and I worked together at a call center and she became my friend in one of the darkest periods of my life. We began working at the call center on the same day and we connected immediately. When we were assigned to the floor, we had cubicles right next to each other. Wendy was the main reason the job was bearable. God knows we both needed something to make it bearable. Between calls we'd talk about life and writing. I had begun my novel, but only barely. I had the concept and two of the main characters in mind, but there was still so much ahead of me. I think I had about seventy five pages written, most of which has since been re-worked. While I pondered my novel's story points and characters, Wendy wrote her novel. Long hand, between phone calls. I was amazed and a bit envious. I remember one particular slow day that I had an idea for a character. I turned to her and said, "Hey, what about a blind artist? Think that will work?" She smiled and nodded while she finished her phone call.
Having the novel to work on and Wendy to bounce ideas off of kept me sane for that year. If I had nothing to look forward to, I'm afraid I would have sank into a hopelessness I would never have returned from. I can honestly say that writing this novel has kept me alive and given me hope when I could find no other.
My second "first reader" is Erin. I fell in love with Erin the moment I met her. It was in a writer's workshop. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her quirky sense of humor had me hooked. When we shared our first pieces, I was blown away the section of her memoir that she shared. I was taken by her brutal honesty and knew she was someone I wanted to read my stuff.
The truth is that I would be honored by any of the six people in that room to read my work. They were all so instrumental to me finishing. Their feedback was incredible and made me want to make my writing better. I hope that I have done that.
I hold my glass up to my friends, Jim, Dodie, Katrina, Jessica, Erin and Wendy. Thank you.