"In a weak moment I have written a book..." - Margaret Mitchell
This has become one of my favorite understatements.
I beat the odds and survived long enough to turn forty last week, and we celebrated with a family trip to Georgia. Being a superfan of Gone With the Wind I wanted to go to Atlanta to visit the land of Tara, and "The Dump" -- the apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote the book. She was almost a quadragenarian when it was published. She didn't have a brain tumor, so she took ten years to write it while convalescing from an injury.
It was fascinating to learn more about the life of Margaret Mitchell, and the process of writing and publishing Gone With the Wind. Not only because it is my favorite novel, but also because I could relate to being in a weak moment of recuperation and writing a book. In fact, we also visited the Liahona Bookstore in Atlanta, where copies of my book were being sold, and I signed some copies and chatted with the management and staff to thank them for carrying it.
We also visited Jonesboro, to visit the Road To Tara Museum, and to dig up some of the "red earth of Tara", which gave Scarlett O'Hara her strength.
We stayed in Macon, Georgia, at the historic 1842 Inn, an antebellum home that avoided being destroyed by Sherman's troops during the Civil War. (It also avoided being destroyed by my two children, thank goodness!)
We chose Macon, because my brother Jim has just started a Moh's surgery fellowship there. It was nice to see Jim and thank him for being part of the reason I was able to have a 40th birthday. Without his insistence that I was having seizures, I would have been left to rely on the ER doctor's advice that my symptoms were probably just something weird that would go away by itself in six months (that advice would have killed me). Jim also let me cream him in a game of Scrabble.
We had more time on the road again as a family, more use of the spray bottle, and more whinnying when we saw a Ford Mustang driving down the road. The coolest surprise on the trip was my son's high interest in the movie, Gone With the Wind, and his insistence that we watch it together on the little portable DVD player.
Now that I am forty and still alive, the next question is my next book. I have entertained some ideas, but just like in my B.C. days my family and my work have taken most of my time, and the other stuff of life easily takes the rest of it. And I'm not on as many steroids, so I'm not up writing at 5:30 am like I was in my post-op days! I have to keep Ms. Mitchell's quote handy as a reminder that I should not wait for my next "weak moment" to write another book. And I shouldn't wait ten years. Even though things are looking as good as they can for me right now, I should keep the cancer glasses in place, to motivate me to do things while I still can.
After all...tomorrow IS another day, but we don't know what it will bring, except perhaps a string of yesterdays full of "oh, darn -- I should have________".