Most of my life I’ve fantasized about being a writer. Last year, that fantasy came true – sort of. I say sort of because it was so different from how I imagined it. When I was kid, I would read and dream of inspiring people through stories. I would make up little plays in my head and think about what it would be like to be an author. I would visualize sitting in front of an old-fashioned typewriter (we didn’t have computers back then) at an old wooden desk with light shining in the window of my office that overlooked the ocean as I typed out those fun-filled, yet important stories.
Last year, when I actually became an author, I was sitting in a dark apartment, feeling lost and exposed as the story I told was so personal and not fictionalized at all. Seeing best-seller status appear was thrilling in that it meant many people would hopefully be inspired by my story, but it also just felt odd because it wasn’t what I had pictured in my head for so long. I wasn’t writing in the way I wanted to write because I had listened to people, for so long, tell me I should write non-fiction when in my heart, I wanted to write fiction, in fact, fiction for young girls like I was, who dreamed of a bigger life than the one they were currently living.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am SOOOOOOOOOO incredibly honored to be a part of WOMEN WHO INSPIRE. In fact, it’s one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and has taught me SO much about who I am and what I want to do. I cannot stress enough what that book has done for me and so many of the women who have read it. That said, as an author, it just wasn’t it. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, seeing as I am someone who firmly believes we get to create the lives we live, when I had that realization a few months back, I thought to myself, “Edwards (that’s what I call myself when I’m speaking firmly and sort of yelling at myself in a motivational way), Edwards, if this isn’t what you dreamed of doing, how do you get to your dream?” So, I started to ask myself that question every day.
Then, about a week after I started putting it out there, this post popped up in my Facebook feed saying that JUDY BLUME (yes, THE Judy Blume) was teaching a Masters Class is writing. I nearly leapt out of my skin with excitement and then hesitated with fear. Here was the answer to my question and there was no reason I couldn’t be a children’s author (of course, I have figured out ways to procrastinate actually getting to work on it) and here was one of the most important authors of my childhood sharing her knowledge. My hands shook as I bought the course and watched as this woman who shaped so much of my childhood appeared on the screen, her eyes dancing with excitement as she told about her process and inspiration. I got so excited when she said she owned a bookshop in Key West, Florida because it was one of the places Craig and I had planned on going on our adventure. I made a note in my notebook.
Yesterday, I woke up remembering that Judy Blume’s bookshop is here! I had planned on bringing my last copy of WOMEN WHO INSPIRE with me just in case she happened to be there. I giggled as I thought how farfetched that would be. I mean, here’s a woman who has MADE IT. She would never be working behind a cash register. So, I forgot the book in the trailer and somehow even pushed the thought of going to the bookshop out of my mind.
Then, as Craig and I were walking on Duval street, something caught my eye around the corner. It was this fantastic old-fashioned movie theater with this amazing neon sign. We walked toward it and looked at the posters on the wall when I saw this little flyer taped up that said Books and Books Bookstore and I remembered – Judy Blume’s book store! I said to Craig, “maaaaaaaan, I totally forgot to bring a copy of WOMEN WHO INSPIRE!” Then, giggled as I said sarcastically, “because, what if Judy’s there? I really want to go check out the bookstore, though!” We walked the two blocks to the store, crossed the street and as we walked through the door, I literally let out an audible (and potentially embarrassing – if there were people around) gasp. There she was, Judy Blume, childhood idol, a woman who need not work another day in her life, standing with a smile on her face, working behind the cash register.
I, of course, was totally freaking out inside, but smoothly 😉 made my way to the other end of the bookstore, not knowing what to do. Craig asked if we could bring Zoe in. He said “are dogs allowed in the bookstore?” And, Judy Flipping Blume, with that twinkle in her eye, the one I had grown so fond of while taking her class said, “well behaved dogs are.” Then she walked over to Craig and with hesitation approached Zoe. It turns out her son had a similar dog who wasn’t so friendly so when Judy was able to pet Zoe, she was happy and started telling us about her grand puppy.
In the mean time, I had walked over with 2 copies of ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET and she graciously offered to sign them. As we were checking out, I told her I was taking her master class and she was thrilled to hear about how it was going. I told her that wifi is tricky on the road but, the sections I’ve been able to view have been FANTASTIC! And then I told her about our trip and she said that was something her husband would love. He then came out from the back room and we chatted for a bit. She was so sweet and delightful. We took a picture (you can see it on my social media) with Zoe and then we left.
My heart was so full as I walked across the street. I just couldn’t believe that the exact scene I had been visualizing and thought would never happen, happened. It was magic.
Later that day, I was processing the event with Craig and I realized that I want to be like Judy Blume, not only as an author (I already knew that), but as a human. The thing that makes me LOVE artists so much is that we work for passion, not money. Unfortunately, that often means we have no money. However, when you meet someone like Judy Blume, working behind a cash register at her own bookstore even though she could very easily afford not to, you realize that there is this magnificent balance that can be struck. You can make money with your passion, if you focus on creating work. Often times, at least from my observation (and, I feel like I fell into this trap in LA recently, myself) you create something really cool that garners some attention and then you work to continue to get that attention (or work on your celebrity – is another way of looking at it) instead of working on the craft and art that got you that attention.
When I had this realization and I thought of Judy Blume, I was inspired to focus on my writing and also another dream Craig and I have always had of opening our own little bookstore/coffee shop that we can work at and interact with people and get inspiration for our art from.
Maybe we’ll even find the location of that future establishment while on this trip. All I know is that meeting Judy Blume shifted something in me. It reminded me of being a kid, reading her books, dreaming of being an author and all the hope I felt when I did. It also reminded me of how stifled I felt because I didn’t have the resources or ability to make those dreams happen when I was a kid. Dreaming is important and now as an adult, I have the ability to make those dreams into realities and that’s pretty flipping cool.
And, that’s what I learned as an adult from one of my childhood idols, Judy Blume. And, also, that’s Life in a Teardrop <3
Two years ago this trip was just a dream. Last year, I almost gave up on it. Want to know how I turned it all around and made this dream into a reality? Click Here
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