Over the summer, I bore witness to parenting, avian-style. Bluebirds in Sacramento urged their young to eat the mealworms on their own since their once safe home had become a sweltering box. Robin mothers and fathers patiently fed their speckled babies predigested insects, and demonstrated proper bathing techniques in the bird bath. Barn swallow fledglings, so crowded in their corner condo that they couldn’t turn around, still waited with yellow-lined mouths for one last bite. And, beleagured magpie moms and dads were stalked by squawking teenagers as, much like their milennial human counterparts, they seemed unable or unwilling to strike out on their own.
I have my own nestling waiting to take wing. My first novel is five years old, perhaps young by some standards but old enough. I conceived her at a writers conference in 2013, a one-night-stand with my muse after a workshop on writing beautiful sentences. Full with child, I wrote and read online tutorials. I wrote, and attended conferences. I wrote, and joined writers groups. I wrote, and took part in critiques. I wrote, and revised a word, a line, a paragraph at a time. I didn’t write, but read other people’s books. Then I wrote, and revised some more. I nurtured her as she grew from a title to a chapter to a full novel. And now, she is ready to fly.
The worst case is that she gathers dust in a three-ring binder on a shelf, passed from generation to generation with the awkward question, “So who wants Aunt Bitty’s book?” However, the champagne chilling in my refrigerator affirms my grand intention for my little word bird to be picked up by one of the Big Five. She becomes a best-seller, with a forward from Paul and Ringo, and we appear on Sunday Morning or The View to discuss our role in bringing stories with older female protagonists, written by older female authors, to the forefront of publishing.
Yet she remains with me. She spent a few weeks with readers and editors who offered pointers and praise, and promises that her wings were strong enough to fly the distance. She’s flown on short missions, delivering ten to fifty pages at a time to agents who told her she had merit but wasn’t right for them at present. But, this time is right for her. A wave of Beatles’ anniversaries is approaching, and my target market of Boomers is aging, including myself. And so it is, with a mix of anxiety and excitement, that I am pushing my beloved first-born out of the nest.
We are venturing into the world of self-publishing, and have secured services to clothe her in dazzling plummage and prepare her for her debut into literary society. Without a traditional sponsor to guide us, I know I will need to work harder than ever to ensure her success. She needs more than a dusty notebook. Go, little bird, and sing for all you’re worth. The bubbly awaits.
Diana is a Baby Boomer, diehard Beatles fan, and now an Author on Amazon.