Best cardboard box of the year showed up at my doorstep yesterday.
Copies of my next novel, “Twenty-one Truths About Love,” have arrived. This is my fifth novel and my sixth book, and honestly, it was just as exciting as opening the box and seeing my first.
There will always be a part of me that still lives in a time when publishing even a single book seemed like an impossibility.
Despite my good fortune, I’ll also always be that frightened boy in high school, desperately wishing that someone would talk to him about the possibility of college. I’ll always be that homeless young man, trying to find ways to eat while awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. I'll forever be that McDonald’s manager, wondering if managing restaurants and flipping burgers was the best I’d ever do.
A part of me will always be that 12 year-old boy, writing political cartoons on Easter Sunday in his grandparents’ living room, hoping an aunt or uncle might notice. I’ll always be that 19 year-old kid, kicked out of his childhood home, struggling to make ends meet, writing columns on early, localized versions of the Internet, hoping to get someone - anyone - to read what I wrote. And part of me will always be sitting at my desk in my classroom on a Friday afternoon twelve years ago when my agent called, telling me that Doubleday had made an offer on my first book.
The journey was long and hard, and I’m happy that it’s something I won’t ever forget. Those small parts of the past - still alive and well inside - make the opening of a cardboard box containing my sixth book a moment just as exciting as the day ten years ago when I opened that first box and saw my name on the cover of a book for the first time.