I’ve loved watching movies ever since I can remember. Growing up, my favorite time of year was summer. One reason? I got to read as much as I wanted to – and believe me, I read voraciously! The second? I got to stay up late and watch movies with my parents … on a week night! No more go to bed at 9 or 9:30 (or 10, if I pushed it). We would start watching a movie on our local channel that showed classics every night at 9 – so I was staying up REALLY LATE and doing something REALLY COOL! Of course, I was only in single digits, age-wise, so I thought a lot of things were pretty cool. It took reaching double digits to figure out hanging with my parents was … not so cool.
I got a great movie education doing this, seeing everything from Casablanca “(Here’s looking at you, kid”) to Sunset Boulevard (“All right, Mr. De Mille. I’m ready for my close-up.”). Movie quotes became old friends to me, and I could throw them into everyday conversation with my friends. “We need a bigger boat.” “Is it safe?” “You can’t handle the truth!” I gravitated toward people who could do the same.
I raised my own daughter the best I could, and I tried my hardest to give her a great education in pop culture by exposing her to all kinds of films. Give her a movie line (“Don’t forget. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her;” “He saved me – in every way a person can be saved;” or “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”). Of course she’ll know what it’s from (Notting Hill, Titanic, and Independence Day – just in case you’re quizzing yourself as you read along.).
I swear that the only reason I wanted to begin dating was so that a guy would ask me out … and take me to the movies, of course. My first date with my husband was to a movie. So was the second. He finally threw me a curveball and took me to the Byron Nelson golf tournament for our third date. He followed me around all day while I shadowed Jack Nicklaus. I didn’t know what I loved more – getting to see Nicklaus in person or falling in love with this wonderful guy who took me to movies AND was cute with a wicked sense of humor AND indulged me by letting me stalk a famous golfer.
When I began writing, it was hard to take that leap of faith. To put words down – my words – and then hope and pray they were entertaining enough for someone to read them and fall in love with my people and their stories. But I kept with it by taking Yoda’s advice – “Do, or do not. There is no try.” So I just kept on doing and doing. Eventually, I met my editor at a conference and my dream has come true with the release of MUSIC FOR MY SOUL.
That leads me to sharing with you the movie line that I lived. One of our family classics that we’ve watched countless times is Love, Actually. Remember the part where Laura Linney gets a ride home from the Christmas office party from Carl, the man she’s been pining for … for forever? He starts to leave and then looking at her with those soulful eyes tells her, “I don’t have to go.”
THAT’S when my favorite line and part happens. She politely says, “Would you excuse me for one second?” She goes around the corner and does The Happy Dance for slightly more than one second. She is amazed and delighted and excited that HOT CARL has come home with her and doesn’t want to leave! She then pops around the corner, calm and collected now, and says, “Um, okay. That’s done.”
And then she takes him upstairs.
That was me when I found out that Soul Mate Publishing wanted to publish my medieval historical romance, MUSIC FOR MY SOUL. I didn’t have to excuse myself because I was home alone. But I flashed to the Laura Linney line. And I stood. I giddily did MY Happy Dance (for more than one second because it’s not every day that you find out your novel will be published). I saw Laura dancing as I did. I flashed to her one moment of euphoria. Then I sat, shaking, trying to breathe and take it all in.
My ending is infinitely better than hers. She blew that one magical moment with Carl, due to her love and loyalty for her mentally challenged brother. I, on the other hand, have realized my dream. I’ve published a romance novel, and my editor has already bought two more western historical romances that will be out in October and January.
But I think I’ll take Ferris Bueller’s advice and remember: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
I don’t intend to miss a single thing, Ferris. I’m thankful for this “second act” in life. I’m not just a writer. I’m a published author.