When I first walked in to editor-in-chief Peg Parkinson’s office, …

I was trembling. I’d never had a book published and was shopping the proposal for "Feeding the Hungry Heart" around. Peg had a stuffed pencil hanging above her desk.

Although I said I had a whole book, I only had a book proposal. Or maybe I said I could write the whole book in a few months, I can’t remember now. All I know is that I was excited and terrified and had to keep pinching myself that I was actually sitting in the office of a editor in a New York publishing house. A year before that, having a book published was a dream that I wasn’t sure I could ever realize.

 

When I devolve into believing my mind (mostly in the middle of the night) and its stories are those of someone who was never supported or loved or wanted (oy, such stories), I try to remember Peg. She started calling me every few weeks after that meeting and coaxed that book out of me. At one point, I was so blocked, I couldn’t write a word.

After I gave up writing all together and told her I’d been lying to her and that I didn’t have enough written to show her and I didn’t care if I ever wrote another word — I couldn’t stand the pressure
— she told me to call her anytime. Said she knew I could do it. Gave me her phone number at home. Three weeks later, I had the manuscript for "Feeding the Hungry Heart." I wrote it on Peg’s wings.

When she died years later, her partner asked me if I wanted anything of hers. Yes, I said, that pencil. And now it hangs in my writing studio. Living proof that like every one of us, we have had such support, such love to get where we are. If you are like me, you forget that. Sometimes you focus on the ones who didn’t or don’t support you. Sometimes it’s possible to feel desperately alone in a big, scary universe. If you are like me, you forget and then you remember and then you forget and remember again. Here’s to remembering the good. And remembering. And remembering.

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