Spinner of Secrets is ready for the next steps. Professional proofreading, then back to me for formatting, and my friend Hannah has offered to help with the cover design.
It was so hard getting here.
I had to learn to let go of so much. My insecurities, my feelings of inadequacy, my pride, my disbelief in myself. I desperately wanted to get this story published and to do that, I had to learn to be brave.
I shared a poem several weeks back, called Jump.
It was so important for me. I had to learn to stand on my own two feet and I had to learn to decide, this is good.
Not good enough.
Not just okay.
Not that will do.
I don't really care if other people don't think it's good. I didn't write this one for other people. I wrote it for me. I wrote it to tell a story and in telling the story, I learned my own.
And while I want this story to connect with other people and for other people to enjoy it as much as I do, I'm not sure if that's the most important thing for this book. There will be other books. It's inevitable. I'm as likely to stop telling stories as I am to stop liking rainy days and good books. But this book, this journey, has been about me growing up, about me learning myself, about me connecting with myself.
But there is this aching
inside me, right behind my ribs, just below my heart,
that begs me to go and jump off a cliff and
never mind whether people accept me or not.
Never mind whether they like me or not.
Never mind them at all.
So in a way, yes, I am very selfish and jealous about this book. And in another way, I'm not. It's grown up just like me. And I'm learning to let it fly on its own. It may crash, it may fall. That's okay. Things do that.
I learned to ride my bicycle without training wheels, when I was about six. We were at my friend's house, riding our bikes around in front of the log house and the mobile home. My bike was small, pink, and very girly. I loved it. It looked a lot like this one:
My best friend and his brother decided it was high time I was a big girl. I was happily riding around and they called me to a halt in front of the front steps, dashed inside, came out with a couple of wrenches, and took my training wheels off. Looking back, I can see how it would be comical to have a six year old and an eight year old, expertly wielding wrenches and taking things apart, but at the time I was just a bit concerned. I was afraid I'd fall down without my training wheels, but they said I needed to try it.
So I tried it. I probably fell down, but I don't remember it. And I didn't fall down much. The glorious crashes I've had came much later.
The interesting thing is that I wasn't upset with them, I wasn't angry, I wasn't even especially scared. I was nervous. I really wanted to get it right and ride my bike without the training wheels. I wanted to make my friend proud of me. I wasn't afraid of getting bullied or teased if I failed, not from him anyway. Maybe from his brother. While I knew I could have Daddy put the wheels on again when I got home, I didn't really want him to. For one thing, I thought that the boys would take them off again next time I was up there, and they probably would have. For another, I didn't really want them on again. I wanted to do it myself. I might fall down, I might crash. But that was okay. I didn't care. Skinned knees were nothing compared to the feeling of wobbling around the driveway on my own, without anyone holding me up.
While I'm not a risk-taker, necessarily, I have always liking surprising people, surprising myself, and trying new things. I didn't bat an eyelash at jumping off the cliff when I was five - the cliff being a sand hill, the jump being two feet before you touched down again and just slid down the hill. Climbing trees only failed because I wasn't coordinated to keep my balance very well. Airsoft, letting the boys throw me into the pond, sword-fighting and getting good enough to beat my brothers and my best friend... I loved it. I loved seeing what I could do. Testing limits. Where I could go. How much could I do. What sort of thing happened if I tried it a little differently. The absolute best way to get me to do something was to tell me I couldn't. (Or tell me to get out of the way and let the boys handle it.)
Somewhere along the way, I got scared of that. I got scared of this desire in myself to try something new.
And now I'm getting it back again.
I've got a few cliffs to jump off, I think.
Spinner of Secrets is approximately 23,800 words - 3,000 or more added since I began this last set of edits.
And look! My friend Kirsi made pretty art for me!
Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Artwork by Kirsi Grace
Forest photo by Annie Louise Twitchell
Bicycle photo by Unknown