On Monday, I walked to a meeting. The route was a stretch of Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon. The destination was a local pub. The person I was meeting was my publisher. On my back, I carried 160 pages of paper—my book manuscript, completed last week and fresh from the printer.
The sun shone brilliantly, there was barely a breeze. I was all alone. Two miles of packed sand, open Oregon air and exercise lay between our rented beach house and my fate.
Of course, fate doesn’t work like that. There isn’t really one defining moment that sets a course of everlasting glory in a regular life. Glory comes and goes, is persistently fickle. Every happy ending is interwoven with the beginning of another new challenge.
I thought about a lot of things on that two-mile journey. How much outside validation I need from my writing, and if I can learn to just enjoy its creation and appreciate the successes that appear. My family, and what really matters. How rooting around in your past and trying to craft it into something salable is as dangerous and messy as my friend Jessica said it would be when I started this project. And, online casino just what the heck might happen during the next two hours.
But when I quit thinking and looked up into the stunning sky, at the powerful surf, breathed the sea air, I thought about how lucky I am. How incredibly metaphorical this walk was! My story about growing up on the Oregon Coast was literally on my back as I marched down the Oregon Coast to deliver it to someone who would decide its worth. Sort of like the pearly gates, but with kites and sandcastles.
Judgment is still to come. But on the walk back, after a great discussion, with a pint of Oregon ale in my belly and my backpack much lighter, when the beach glowed even more marvelously and I felt like skipping over the sand, when I located my chickens chasing seagulls and Captain Daddy ready to hear my story, I simply chose to revel in the glory for however long it lasts.
I knew the true worth of that paper-bound journey, and almost didn’t care what anyone else thought of it at all.