Occasionally a raccoon would cross my path, pausing long enough to give me a long, scornful look as if scolding me for visiting its home with no invitation, arriving so late in the evening, and worse than the latter two, my not offering to share the peanut butter sandwich it could smell in my saddle-bag.
Lost in my thoughts I’d let my mare wind her way through the sapling pecan trees and across the dried creek bed. There were never any worries—Dewdrop knew the way well. The sound of the rhythmic, muted thud of her hooves on the leaf-carpeted trail was therapy for my troubled heart.
My mount and I would eventually emerge from the dense woods and come to rest on a high hill. From my lookout, I could see my childhood home in the pasture below. The lights in the kitchen always twinkled like a set of mischievous eyes, and always, just for a minute, the world was right. Then I’d remember, Daddy’s dead, and I’d be left with the wisdom he’d imparted on me, and an aching hole in my soul that nothing could fill.
My father always implored me to treat people with respect, and to dream big. “You can do anything, as long as you put your mind to it.” I always remembered the last bit as I sat on my horse, shivering not from the night chill, but anticipation about making Daddy proud.
I could say that my life was perfect afterwards, but that occurs only in some movies. In the passing years I experienced financial and personal loss, but bounced back with “…you can do anything…” as my mantra. And I had a plan.
My professional goal was simple. I’d always had a very active imagination, and I wanted to be an author, and perhaps later an editor. Different stints in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies gave me experience and exposure I needed. But having a book published, seeing my name emblazoned on the front cover still eluded me. I wanted it so badly. I’d race through the media aisle at Target, not looking right or left for fear of seeing that yet another Facebook friend had a book gracing the shelves.
“I’ll be a couch for my children. It’s obvious being an author isn’t in my future,” I complained to a writer friend on one occasion.
“That’s crap. You have that kid’s story don’t you? Get off your bum and send it off to a publisher. You can do anything, just as long as you put your mind to it.” That was the boost I needed.
I submitted my book everywhere I could think of that’d take children’s books. I was overjoyed when a small publishing house, headed by Marie McGaha took a leap of faith and accepted my manuscript. I learned more than I could ever imagine about the publishing process, and I enjoyed every minute of it. A couple of years later, she asked me to be an editor, and I readily accepted.
Marie has been a patient, wise mentor, and I’ve gained so much knowledge. My dreams were exceeded today when she named me as her editor-in-chief.
Yes, dreams can come true, just as long as you “put your mind to it.”