Late this past August, as I rested on my couch with an elephant-sized bandage on my foot, I decided I would proceed to self-publish my memoir. In fact, just the day before I had crutched out to the mail box against the advice of my surgeon, donning a backpack to carry the mail. I leaned against the community mailbox to zip the mail into my backpack when I noticed the return address of the publisher that I had thought then was the best fit for my work. Just as I opened the envelope, not able to wait for the now-slow-journey back into my house, a breeze blew the letter out of my hand, carrying it 20 feet up the hill from my mailbox. I put the remaining mail into my backpack, carefully steadied myself and slowly crutched up the hill to the letter, reaching out my crutch to trap the letter on the ground. I sat down to read it. Manuscript rejected. Thanks, but no thanks.
One week later, still sitting on my couch but now graduated to a boot, I opened an email I didn’t expect. I received an offer to publish my book from a different publisher, one I now realize may be the better fit for my book. One of the chapters in My Music Man that I most enjoyed writing is titled “baseball.” In it I include stories about playing baseball as a small girl along the banks of the Willamette River – stories that I weave among others from both olden days and from our modern Willamette Valley. It was, in fact, this sample chapter that sparked a first dialogue with the editor who both requested and accepted my manuscript.
Today, almost two months after opening that thrilling email, I am still recovering from not just one surgery, but a second due to infection – the injury from a competitive dash to home plate, while playing 1880-ruled Old Fashioned Baseball within a couple hundred feet of the Willamette River in West Linn. While I try to ignore my slowly shrinking calf muscles and become quite proficient with both crutches and knee walker, I savor the excitement of knowing that my book will be published next year. And I am grateful for those things that pop up, when we most need them. When we pay attention, it seems there are so often ironies that punctuate our lives. If Dad were still alive, I am sure he would laugh ruefully with me.