Late yesterday, after a somewhat arduous day of not writing, I opened my email. There was a message from someone I didn’t know. It began:
“I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing with what I hope is exciting news. Your story from the Boston StorySLAM “Fools” (4/7/15) has been selected for the next round of Moth Podcast episodes (this is the one you told about baking cakes).”
This is a story I wrote, a true one from my life. In April I drove an hour to Boston to tell it to a room full of slightly inebriated strangers. I didn’t win the competition that night, but all the stories are recorded and are listened to later by Moth editors.
And they liked mine. “Loved,” actually.
And just like that, all was right with the world. I forgot about my neighbor who recently put in a pool and spent the afternoon mere soaking feet from my writing room having a party with her friends. They were so loud that I didn’t write a word but instead silently fumed and tried to read.
Just like that I forgot how tired I was, forgot that I had to clean the bathrooms, brush the dog, turn off the outside light so the bugs didn’t collect in the nightly cobwebs so I’d have to sweep them down. I forgot about the eleven emails I was already supposed to have sent.
Instead, I got a chill all through my body and turned to my husband Greg and told him the news. And he did that thing he sometimes still does that makes me think how he must have looked when he was ten and his parents told him he was getting a puppy. His eyebrows went up while he smiled and flexed his feet. And I knew right away that I didn’t want to forget that feeling.
So I am writing this note to myself. How to feel when amazing things happen. There is only one rule: to not expect them, ever. Because someday, I will have been a writer for 25 years or so, and get the news that a book of mine made some nice list, or I was requested to do a reading, and I don’t ever want to expect it. I don’t want to say, “Oh- again?” Like it was Trump running for president.
I don’t want to take the truly amazing things for granted. I can forget about annoying neighbors, Lysol disinfectant wipes, and supposedly ‘urgent’ emails.
And for at least an hour, I can dance in my yard in the dark, with the moths.