I am thrilled to welcome Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl, to Great Thoughts’ Great Authors. The book publishes TODAY so we are honored to host Erika on her publication day. My review of Hemingway’s Girl is here.
The night I got the call that my agent had sold my novel, Hemingway’s Girl, to NAL/Penguin, I was celebrating spring break at the beach inNorth Carolina with my in-laws, and toasted the good news with a Key Lime martini. That night, I called my mother to tell her the good news. When she asked the publication date, I told her that it would launch in September of 2012, one and a half years from signing the contract.
The line went quiet.
Both of us realized something profoundly sad at that moment. It was a very real possibility that my mother would not live to see it. In the five or ten seconds of silence, a thousand miles away from each other, we both swallowed the lumps in our throats, cleared our voices, and continued with the conversation as if that darkness had not entered it.
My mother has restrictive lung disease as a result of severe congenital scoliosis. She has dealt with a major curvature of her spine her entire life and now as gravity worsens her posture and the early stages of osteoporosis weaken her bones, her lungs are forced into an ever shrinking chamber of brittle ribs. Her lung capacity has always been about half that of the average person, so she has never been able to swim or participate in vigorous exercise. Her doctors told her that she should think about not having children. Two Augusts ago, after a sudden decline in her lung capacity to 28%, we didn’t think she would have much time left.
Hang in there, the story gets better.
The fact is, my mother did have children—two of us. And two years after my mother wasn’t expected to live two months, she is still here. She mostly stays home with her oxygen tank—getting ready and traveling around town isn’t very easy—but she’s always been a homebody, so she’s doing okay.
My mother has encouraged and supported me, all of my life. She’d read the terrible plays and poems I wrote as a child and gush enthusiastically. She’s still one of my first readers, and God help you if you poorly review my work online. Know that a tiny lady on oxygen is cursing you. She has rocked my crying newborns, played countless games of Uno and Candyland with my toddlers, and attended school concerts, baptisms, and Kindergarten graduations with joy. My mother has been there for me every step of my life, and I prayed earnestly that she would be there for the book launch.
It means so much that she has made it to pub date. It is one of the great blessings of this time, and it is why my book is dedicated to her. So while I’m thrilled about blogs and good reviews, Twitter chats and bookstore signings, my greatest joy at this time, is that my mother is here with me to witness it all.
What are you reading and where are you going?