Here’s how long I’ve been writing. Anyone else remember the old manuscript boxes?

I would print out whatever novel was ready to go and carefully lay it in the manuscript box with a letter on top, then drive to the FedEx office, where this tall guy with red hair and glasses would notice if I was sending to New York and would say he would take extra care of this package. I always said I would let him know when the good news came. Maybe I need to drive over and see if by some chance he’s still there. I hate I can’t remember his name.

Then there’s Dale, the FedEx guy who brought the returned manuscripts back to my door. So many returned that I got to know Dale’s twin granddaughters, Layla and Dakota. “Next time, I’m sure of it,” he would say. I was so close so many times. Agents would request partials and then fulls, and then the manuscript would come back with such a lovely, encouraging handwritten note. And back to work I would go.

Now Dale has a different route, one easier on his knees. I need to call Dale and let him know too.

These short conversations were the connective tissue to the world of publishing, real people I knew holding my words and letting me know the work I was doing was not just in my head and that it was valued and that they were rooting for me.

Many thanks, guys.