How Do I Get There From Here?
by Yvonne Blake 2/22/2008 / Writing
I've always loved maps. We traveled across the country more than once while I was young. I could tell you which states were west of the Mississippi River by the time I was five years old. I liked reading road signs, with their interesting names: Butternut Hollow and Sacandaga River. I liked finding them on my map to see how far we had traveled and which town was coming next.
Different roads have different characteristics. If time was short and we needed to reach Grandaddy's house tomorrow, then we looked for interstates and turnpikes to speed us on our way. But, if there was no hurry, my father often poured over the map to find a thread of a road that wandered over the mountains and through the little towns. We might have a picnic near a stream or stop to watch a parade.
The world is different when you are traveling at night. A twinkling distant city looks like a magical fairyland. The strings of car lights sparkle like necklaces of rubies and pearls. Bridges span dark rivers that might reflect the moon, which seems to speed through the sky escorting you to your destination.
I loved driving into the night with my father. The humming traffic lulled my mother and brothers to sleep, and I was usually the only passenger still awake. My father and I always talked during those quiet hours. I don't remember any specific conversations, but I don't think I asked the question, "Are we there yet?", because I liked the journey. Getting there had its own adventures and sights and flavors.
I feel like I've been traveling on a different kind of road these last few months. Up until now, it's been a busy turnpike of raising children and teaching school, rushing here and there, no time to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Since last fall, I've taken a winding dirt road, a quieter path of writing.
I'm learning to read the "maps" to get me to my destination. The names are strange to my lips; "queries", "proposals", "blogs". I'm learning the skills of my chosen route. I've learned to "post" and "revise". I know what SASE and POV mean. I'm meeting new friends and learning new skills along the way. I know I have a long trip ahead of me, but I'm gaining more experience day by day.
This last week, I reached a big milestone, a major step of the way. I've gotten some "wheels". I created my first portfolio, a place to show potential agents and publishers who I am and what I have written. I don't want to be left sitting by the wayside. I want ride this road; I want to reach my destination of being a published author.