Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day #11 — I've Never Been Speechless a Day in My Life

As you can see from the title of this post, anything I write here will be pure fiction. According to family lore, I started speaking when I was so young, people thought my mother was lying about my age. So here's the story, prompted by Lisa Romeo:

Prompt: Speechless

Speechless. I was completely and totally speechless. Sure, I've imagined winning something like this ever since I first put fingers to keyboard with the idea for my novel, but when the call came, I was speechless. 

And not in a charming, humble kind of way. I was speechless a way that had my agent banging his receiver on his desk (or whatever, I assume it was his desk) and shouting my name into the phone. "Are you OK? Should I hang up and call 9-1-1."

Then I started to cry. Not cute, endearing tears of humility. I was doing the ugly cry, complete with puffy red eyes and lots of snot. Thank God video phones have not caught on yet. I do not want people to see what I look like when I'm talking on the phone. If I wanted them to see me, I would meet them in person. No picture is one of the best features of a telephone.

"Oh, for God's sake, this is good news," Michael said. 

"I know, I know," I finally stammered. "I just can't help it. You caught me off guard. Who would have thought after 437 rejections …" I hiccoughed and went back to speechless.

"Well, you should have come to me first," said Michael. "I told you your book was brilliant. I knew it in the first 30 seconds. You're brilliant, and now you are a brilliant, award-winning author. The ceremony will be in New York next month. Get this. They are paying for your plane ticket and your hotel. You have to come on Thursday, because there will all kinds of press events before the dinner on Saturday night. I heard John Irving is giving the keynote, and your speech will come right after dinner.

Speech? How can I possibly give a speech? I can't even talk to Michael on the phone. All of a sudden, I hang up. And then I crack up. I'm laughing so hard that now I'm crying again. The dog is whining and my son wants to know if he should call 9-1-1.

Time: 10 minutes

So, I can dream, can't I? How sad is it that even in my dreams I'm not lovely and charming and eloquent? You would think if I'm going to muster up a fantasy, I should be able to make myself witty and skinny. Clearly, this fantasy needs some rewriting.

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