Friday, August 12, 2011

A dream comes true

A dream comes true “That's it? It's done?”

One answer , a resounding “Yes!” worked for both questions.

My book, No Gold Stars, properly formatted, had been uploaded to, an affiliate of Amazon Books. If no corrections are deemed necessary, No Gold Stars will be available in paperback and Kindle in less than two weeks.

Admittedly, the process has been humbling and trying. From start to finish, the project has taken more years than I ever imagined, more revisions than I can count, and more technology than I will ever master.

“Let's create a spine!” said Dagmar, resident genius at Piedmont Printing. It was a digital spine, of course, with appropriate information lined up sideways on its half inch thick column. Zipping back and forth from keys to her clicking mouse, Dagmar gave my book its backbone in thirty seconds.

“Now to the back cover!” she sang out, triumphantly. Despite her sinus headache and her sniffles, she didn't complain, didn't take her eyes off the screen as she imprinted my ISBN numbers. “Now you see why I don't like to read when I go home,” she told me.

I knew what she meant. I'd been working in her office for more than five hours straight, making final line corrections and edits at much less than Dagmar's blinding speed. Still, my eyes felt so leaden that my head hurt from having to hold them in place.

But the finish line was near. There would be a book, a real book as a result of our combined efforts! And since there was a book, I could send excerpts of it to the Emory Magazine, a publication for Emory University's 100,000 alums. They'd already asked me to send them.

But I wanted to finish the book first. What if readers of the Emory Magazine wanted a copy? How would I have told them where to get one? Thanks to Dagmar, that won't be a problem.

Thanks, too, go to my editor, the most patient and considerate Francine, and to my many friends who never let me forget that my book was worthwhile, that it had meaning woven into a good story that needed to be told. Without their encouragement, I might not have persisted.

Now that it's so close to being published, I may revive a dream I've had for decades. That dream, seemingly so distant for so long, involves Oprah. Countless times, I've wanted her to arrange a reunion with my former students and me. Until now, that would have been impossible.

And I knew it. Finally, I can march to her office, hand her a copy, and tell her that she's in for a treat. She'll be impressed with the testimonials near the front from Rev. Jesse Jackson and from my friend, Aruba Tommy. Indeed, new dreams may come.

That's what I was thinking as I glided out of Dagmar's office. Although no one was there to cheer, I felt that parts of my brain that weren't numb were celebrating. My book had had a mostly quiet birth.

From there, as I headed for the door, it was back to work. “I just wanted you to know,” Dagmar's voice stopped me. She spoke to me almost in a whisper like the wind does when it announces a new season is on the way. “ I don't read books when I work on them. I'm not supposed to because it takes up time. But I couldn't help but read yours. I want to read the rest of it.”

I think I thanked her for that, just as I think I opened the door to leave a few steps later. But I'm still not sure, still can't believe what's happened, can't fully grasp that it's done.

And to think that someone really wants to read No Gold Stars---truly priceless!

B. Koplen 8/12/11
author, No Gold Stars

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