This is (sadly) my last post for EMUs Debuts. I thought I knew what I was going to say. I’d actually written the post a while back. It was all about understanding the divisions of responsibility as an author—how we are storytellers and businesspeople—and about how to set boundaries so that the work aspect (the marketing and selling of books) doesn’t overwhelm the creative aspect or even the rest of one’s life.
But you know what? Forget it.
Because today is a Day. There are days and Days in life, and this is most definitely a Day. It’s the kind of Day that only comes around once in, well, about thirty-two years. It’s the kind of Day when the stars align just so and fair winds blow across all the oceans of all the worlds in this galaxy and in those galaxies far, far away.
Today I am going to see a new Star Wars movie with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia.
Just writing that sentence makes me quiver with excitement. I’m not even kidding. And I can’t help thinking how important that is, and how crazy. I was ten when Return of the Jedi came out. I’m forty-two now. Thirty-two years have passed between that Day and this one and yet I’m giddy with anticipation about going to the movies tonight.
There is a point to this rampbling that relates to EMU’s Debuts and children’s literature, I swear, and I’ll get to it in a moment. First, though, I want to share a brief childhood memory.
My mother had the patience of, well, a Jedi. One of the many times she demonstrated this was the winter after The Empire Strikes Back came out. She looked out the window one afternoon and saw me walking in circles through the driving snow in the backyard. She didn’t think much about it until she looked out a little later and saw me still doing the same thing—just retracing the same circle over and over again in the backyard. She eventually lured me back inside with the promise of hot chocolate, but she must have thought I was crazy.
I wasn’t crazy. I was Luke Skywalker, lost on the ice planet Hoth. I think I spent hours out there, feeling the cold on my cheeks, blinking away the ice crystals that caught on my lashes as I tried to return to my friends in the Rebel Alliance.
That right there is what this journey to published author has been all about for me. I began sharing stories with children because I wanted to inspire their imaginations and their play. I think story and play are the Oreos and glasses of milk of childhood. They forever go together. I want my books to be playgrounds where children can go to imagine and explore and immerse themselves in the story worlds I create. That’s what Star Wars did for me. I want to do that for others. Basically, if I inspire just one child to risk frostbite in her or his own backyard, then I will feel that I have been successful.
Of course, the best playgrounds are the ones you can share with friends (even if it does mean waiting for your turn on the slide). I’m very grateful for the friends I’ve made at EMU’s Debuts. It’s a strange experience, being on EMU’s. My time here has been relatively brief and it has overlapped (as is the nature of the blog!) with one of the busiest times in my life. So I feel like I haven’t been as present on the blog as I would have liked sometimes. And yet I feel a very real sense of pride and camaraderie every single time I see one of my fellow EMU’s books in a bookstore (which, naturally, I immediately buy because—as per my original, discarded post—this is a business we’re in, too).
So I want to say a sincere thank you to all of my fellow EMUs and to those of you who have read and commented on my posts. I hope the world proves small enough that our paths get to cross outside of the internet some day.
That’s it for me. It’s time to go play in a galaxy far, far away…