Monday night I sat on a plane, alone with my thoughts, as Chicago ran beneath me. Here I was flying across the country to speak about one of my books.
The gal full of yearning who seventeen years before had started a novel on a summer afternoon, who had no idea it would take twelve years and hundreds of rejections and ten manuscripts to finally break in, the gal who, if she knew, wouldn’t have had the courage to keep trying.
What would my twenty-four year-old self think of this moment?
This certainly wasn’t my first school visit or the only one that’s required a plane, but somehow that didn’t matter. From the quiet of my window seat, the sheer distance of my journey felt overwhelmingly grand.
A memory from L.M. Montgomery‘s journals came to me. In 1927, after publishing over a hundred short stories and thirteen novels, she received a letter from Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who thanked her for “the pleasure her books had given [him].” And Maud responded in a way that makes me tear up every time I read it:
I took the letter with me to Lover’s Lane and read it — read it not to myself but to the little girl who walked here years ago and dreamed — and wrote her dreams into books that have pleased a statesmen of the Empire. And the little girl was pleased.
Flying over Chicago on Monday night, I held a silent celebration with my former self. And that young woman who dreamed so many years ago was pleased.