“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” —The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
As my first book is nearing publication, well, 5 months away, but who’s counting, I think a lot about this quote. I knew when I got my YES, the yippee-woohoo moments would fill my soul and explode with joy at every moment on the path to publication. What I didn’t expect was the moments of sadness that have, at times, crept in. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are not languishing moments, just times of missing. Because in my world, Pooh’s tomorrow is here. My mom died twenty years ago at the age of 55. She was quite simply, my hero. She made me believe I could do anything. She was the one who showed me how to color outside the lines, be brave, have fun, and, maybe most importantly, love unconditionally. So as my dream to become a published author is about to come true, I miss her. It’s simple. I want the people in my life who I love the most to be here when Finding Perfect becomes a real book with a real ISBN and real readers who aren’t related to me. Topping that list is and always has been my family. I am beyond grateful and downright giddy to share this journey with my boys and my husband. Just wish my mom was around to share it with, as well.
So, I hope with all my inner twelve year old enthusiasm that Pooh is right. That my mom will be with me as I traverse down this wonderful path. That she is somewhere with my father-in-law and my gram, drinking her white wine, smelling the lilacs, and reading my story.
Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.