Rita + Book Launch for Book 1 = Magic
I go to fifth grade, age 10, when the idea of Rita writing a book was hatched. It was an assigned project. My efforts resulted in Evil Grows in the Dark, mystery fiction revolving around identical twins. I was fascinated by twins, daydreamed I was one. Twins were trending then: the Bobbsey twins and my idol Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap.
I snagged an okay B+ on the project, then sat, enthralled as the teacher read his favorite submission from over the years, an awe-inspiring journey on the Nile River by intriguing characters with intriguing names. I was impressed and jealous. And it was clear: I’d have to step it up a notch.
My romance with books goes back even further, to the time I opened my first reader in first grade. “See Jane run.” I must have gotten a new copy, hot off the press, as I remember the smell released as I opened it. Fresh print on fresh paper.
It is the same smell I inhaled years later, in the 1990’s, as I toiled in the offices of The Canadian Sportsman in Straffordville, Ontario, writing press releases for the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Every couple of weeks that Standardbred horse racing magazine would roll off the presses and I knew I was in the right (write! Ha.) place. Well, due to the controversial (Liberal government) decline in harness racing, that magazine no longer rolls off the presses, but several copies of my first book, Long Climb Back, recently did.
So, if you’re in your 50’s (how does that happen?), have been burning to publish a book since you were 10, have a fiction novel collecting dust in the house somewhere and have been studying the writing masters while keeping a daily journal for 14 years and then one bright afternoon you find yourself sitting on a throne signing copies of your first book with a throng of family, friends and colleagues in front of you, well . . . what else could Book Launch be but magic?
My fiancé B took the pressure off in the morning by transforming my Jazzercise studio into Book Launch Heaven, so that all I had to do, as he jokes, was sit on my butt all afternoon talking to people and getting writer’s cramp. And it was an interesting position I found myself in, sort of like a fly on the wall, but glued there, so getting a good visual, but not able to hear anything or buzz anyone. I’d see people, like my hairdresser, Lina, as good for the inside of my head as the outside over the years, and want to rush over with a hug, but I’d have to wait until she got to the table. At one point, I saw a man who I was sure I knew. While talking to those at the table and signing, I wracked my brain. Where did me and B meet him? What is his name? And then, the exotic woman with him, in white silk harem pants with a chic do – black, black hair with short-cropped bangs – sidled up beside me and whispered, “It’s Sylvie.”
Sylvie. The woman who’s son I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for. The woman who, so sadly, so unbelievably, lost that very son. The woman who paid-it-forward in a huge, huge way by climbing that same mountain five years later – with Mark, her husband, the man I thought I already knew, but obviously did not, and another couple – raising enough for seven wishes for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sylvie. The woman who wrote the beautiful, heartfelt foreword for my story. The woman from Timmins I’d never met. Magic.
“I can’t even tell you . . .” Sylvie said, choking up as she presented me with a picture of her son, Nicholas, dwarfed between Minnie and Mickey Mouse, “how great that trip was. Nicholas was in the best of health the whole time.”
Nicholas had a passion for trains and lived the story of The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” If you have a passion, be it for trains, for climbing tall mountains, for drawing pictures, or even for drawing pictures with your words, it is your duty to embrace that passion. It is your duty to say, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” over and over and over until you manifest your desire.
I believe our passion is our reason for existence. Book Launch confirmed that for Rita and Rita’s desire.