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The box has arrived

My smart phone beeps and the tracking text from UPS appears: Your delivery is at the front door.

I go to the entrance of the house, open the door and gaze too long at the shipment sitting on the stoop, then carefully bend at the knees and lift it up. I lug it into my office and rest it on the desk, the place where I’ve spent all those hours writing. Then I pull out my set of keys, pick the one with the sharpest teeth and drag it along the tape, letting the flaps flip open.

In the movie, Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a disgruntled teen who is unhappy with his parents. They’re frumpy, out-of-shape, and dragging themselves through mid-life. The magic has gone from their relationship. And they seem to have nothing to look forward to other than continually nagging him about one thing or another. When he returns from the past, after righting the wrongs of their youth, he’s surprised to find them changed. They’re now fit, well-dressed, and smiling at each other as they return from a game of tennis. As he marvels at the transformation, there’s a knock on the door. Their high school nemesis, Biff Tannen, now reduced to an obsequious helper, brings in a box and announces:

“Mr. McFly! Mr. McFly, this just arrived . . .  I think it’s your new book.”

“Oh, honey! Your first novel,” the mother says.

The father looks knowingly at Marty and spouts fatherly wisdom. “Like I’ve always told you, you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

Well, today’s my day. I yank out the filler paper but not too eagerly. After all, it’s my second book. I run the pad of my thumb over the glossy cover. I flip through, making sure all the pages are there. Then I walk over to the shelf with the plastic display case, the one I bought at Staples for $4.99. It’s a stacked display with four books in a row, each rising proudly above the other. It currently holds four copies of my first novel. I remove the back two, reach into the box and insert two new ones, then pause to admire them. Not quite right. I switch the books around so they alternate—new one, old one, new and old. Better. I replace the display on the shelf.

Then I shuffle over to my computer, sit down, and wiggle the mouse to clear the screensaver. A paragraph from my latest work in progress stares back at me. I read it once, twice. I sigh—not good enough. Time to get back to work.

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1 Comment

  1. David, The review of your book appeared on my blog today.

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