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"Start Here" set to publish in 2022

There's this line in one of Taylor Swift's songs that says, "I don't love the drama, it loves me." By Tuesday last week, I was really starting to feel like all I could gather from the Universe was drama. I had several missed calls and voicemails on my phone, so I listened to one of them at eleven o'clock at night. It was the adjuster guy from Progressive. I thought we were friends. We are not.

"Hi Emilee," he begins the call with an unfortunate tone in his voice, "I have to inform you that a few of the parts we ordered for your Jeep came in broken. This put us over that 80% mark and we've decided your vehicle is a total loss."

My heart began racing. Total loss? That's how life felt, it was one loss after another loss. Total loss.

I called the guy Wednesday morning and he was very firm about his decision. "Emilee, I've made my decision. It's a total loss."

"I hit a DEER, not a SEMI," I said, with respect, while driving in my rental car that will soon expire.

"I'm going to pass your case off to my manager, you can talk with her if you'd like."

"I'd be happy to talk to your manager," I said.

Enter manager - the next day - her name for this blog post is Kalico. I've never met a Kalico, but if I did I know she'd be legit. Her tight crew call her "Kay-Ko," which naturally turns into "Cakes," so that's what the people who really know her call her-- Cakes.

"Emilee," her calming voice rises from my rental car speakers like a fragrance, "did you like this car?"

"Cakes," I begin, "this car was like the one shining light in a moonless dark, pitch-black year of a night."

I begin tearing up, "But it's just a car, I know."

"No," Cakes said. "It's not just a car. If it meant that much to you. I'm going to do everything I can to save your Jeep, Emilee."

"Please, Cakes, call me E-Money."

If you remember CGIK from here, or here, or here, it comes as quite a funny irony that he is not the first person to call me "E-Money," as, over the years, it has happened a few times. Mostly in circles with Tj. It is very heart-warming and makes me feel at home.

Cakes and I get off the phone and I instantly feel better. And what happened then was straight greenlights.

I wrote a grant to publish my narrative nonfiction book a month ago, thinking I had little chance at securing a grant to write a personal story about heartbreak, travel, and the total loss of what can happen in life that completely pulls you apart and leaves you breathless.

"Great news, Emilee," the grant director said, "You got it."

I was shocked. My book titled Start Here is set to publish in 2022, but I still didn't have a publisher, and like, where was I gonna find one of those?

A few days later I met with a publisher who hadn't even read the full manuscript and said, "You a clearly a talented writer, and your story is very powerful. We want to work with you to publish it."

No way. This is not happening right now.

And then I received a response, this one was really the big dog in all the news-- I had applied to New York Pitch Conference for my creative nonfiction young adult book about wilderness therapy. I sent them a sample of my work - 500 words. I have about 10% of this book completed.

The response came through and I just stared at it for a while. The subject line read, "Application accepted- welcome to NY Pitch Conference."

"Dear Emilee," the letter began, "It is clear that you are a very talented and serious writer capable of writing a manuscript that publishers and agents will want to see. We look forward to seeing you in New York City in 2022."

I didn't even know how to share all of this information... there just happened to be a break in the blackness and all the galaxies conspired to send a guiding light to keep me.

Even amidst the pain, I'm learning, one can still experience joy.

People who have encouraged me to write my book, and there are many, I am so thankful for you!! Thank you! I've been working on this book since 2016, bits and pieces, and finally in 2022- it will be in book form. Every emotion you can think of that exists under the sun, I am currently feeling it.

Excited to share more info with everyone as the project develops!

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