That July We Got Flooded in Louisville, Forgot Our Anniversary, and I Wrote a Book

Seems no matter how many times I preach to myself about margin and leaving empty space, those little calendar blocks fill faster than the inflatable swimming pool leaks. We’re staring down the end of summer vacation–school starts FRIDAY here and I have no idea where our kindergartner is going–and July just whirled past in a blur of heat stroke and humidity.

Just one of those summers. One of those seasons where everyone we know is either getting married or having a baby (my kids wanted to know if I was jumping on that bandwagon, NO!) so there’s been lots and lots to go and see and do. But not nearly enough down time.

Oh, and there was that weekend of the flood, and the day I forgot was our anniversary, and the moment when I realized I had finished that 85000 word book.

My cousin, who is from South Carolina but lives in New York, married a fellow New Yorker who is from Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, hence wedding on a hot July night. They were gorgeous and everything was so fun and uniquely them. Almost made me want to get married all over again.

Then this happened.

Joshua and I (no kids weekend) had stayed at a VRBO with my cousin’s family–these are some of my favorite people in the world–but when the rain came in early Sunday morning we thought we were going to be together a bit longer than planned. That’s why we drank a lot of coffee and made a batch of biscuits and cheese grits. Southern cooks don’t mess around when there’s a possibility of being stranded.

The tiny tributary of the Ohio River that was hidden behind the tree line of this neighborhood rose seven feet in less than an hour. My aunt and uncle’s SUV was its only victim, though. We just couldn’t get to it fast enough because who imagines seeing flood waters when they open the front door? (Other than my friend Avily from Splickety who wrote this short story that made me laugh because almost been there.)

Then, like magic, those waters all receded once the sun came out and the rain stopped. Craziness. And life. Because you always think you’re going to drown in the storm and then the sun comes out and you find your footing again.

So then we came home and forgot our own anniversary.

Well, thirteen years’ll do that to you. Or four kids. I’m not sure which. I thought about writing something deep about how much I cherish my husband, but I already wrote about Denver and Mardi Gras, and I regularly embarrass him in my newspaper column. So instead, I just made meatloaf and mashed potatoes and biscuits for dinner that night.

Again, southern cooks know biscuits cover a multitude of sins.

Then there’s the matter of the book. I finished it in June, actually. Wrote a scene and then sat back and said to myself, “Huh? I think that was the end.”

I knew how it ended, I may not outline, but I did know my story, but I hadn’t actually intended that moment to be it, but suddenly I realized that adding would detract rather than enhance. So I was done.

Then I edited myself. Which took longer than the process of actually writing sometimes. Now I’ve got a few close friends who are writers and readers and editors in their own rights looking over it. I’m in that resting phase necessary after giving birth. You know, when you eat a lot because you have to nourish another life and don’t sleep because What if, what if, what if?

The story goes to an editor for hopeful acquisition soon and in the meantime I’m in that scary place of selling myself to an agent via a 40-word pitch in the cover letter of my book proposal. Prayers are always appreciated, and while it’s not a secret what the book’s about, I’m just keeping it under wraps until I know where it’s going.

I’ll tell you this–it is NOT what you read on this blog. It’s a novel, southern fiction, and yes, like all debut stories, I’ve loosely based it on some real life events. Very loosely. Like, the setting is real and I’ve borrowed some character traits from people dear to me. But then it deviates into a story about forgiveness and belonging that I hope will be enjoyed and shared.

Because it’d be nice to make a little money doing what I love 🙂

In the meantime, I’m going to finish the blog overhaul–look for big changes coming in September–and get back into a routine of posting here. Thoughts swirl around in my head all day and sometimes make it onto a list.

If I can make it through without crying, I’ll post about back to school this week. Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just wait for the flood waters of emotion to recede. But at least I marked “Back to School” on the calendar so I won’t forget.

3 thoughts on “That July We Got Flooded in Louisville, Forgot Our Anniversary, and I Wrote a Book

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