I’d like to tell you a little story.
It involves a book, an Italian restaurant, and an Ugly Volvo.
Trust me, I’ll connect the dots, don’t worry.
When I started writing back in March 2013, I had no way of knowing that, in a few short months, my life would change in a big way. What started out as a hobby after a friend dared me to write my first pieceturned into a gig where I get paid actual money for the crazy thoughts floating around in my head. But, finding freelancing success didn’t happen overnight and, in those early days, I spent my time writing and fan girling over the bloggers I’d followed for years before I decided to jump into the waters of blogging.
Enter Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat. In early 2014, she assembled a kick ass group of women to contribute to a humor anthology she was putting together called, “I Just Want To Be Alone” (click the link to buy it on Amazon…I’ll wait). When I received her email asking me to contribute an essay, I did what every normal person would in that situation: I took a screen shot of her email, texted it to my BFF, waited 30 seconds and then called my BFF to scream into the phone that I was pretty sure that Jen was messing with my head. A totally normal reaction, right? Anywho, it turned out that Jen was NOT joking and in March of that year, I was published in my first book and I’ve basically been squeeeing my pants ever since (yes, you can get that on a T-shirt now…Ahem).
A few months after IJWTBA was released, I attended a book signing with some of the contributors and that’s when I met Raquel D’Apice. Like me, she was new to the blogging game and she had recently had a piece, entitled, “Enjoy it. Because it Goes So Fast. (In Illustrations)” go mega viral. And by mega viral, I mean millions and millions of people read it and they basically renamed an island in the Caribbean after her. Well, not really, but it was a HUGE piece and knowing that I was rubbing shoulders with her amazing ability to put words in sentences that make me cry laugh was daunting. And, when she read a piece about a parrot and some inappropriate internet photos during the signing, well, let’s just say I haven’t laughed like that since and I can’t hear a parrot squawk without thinking of her.
But, beyond her humor, beyond her wildly successful blog, The Ugly Volvo, and beyond her ability to replicate a parrot squawk with uncanny accuracy, Raquel is a down to earth, decent human. And, the reason I know this is because I had the chance to chat with her in an Italian restaurant after our signing (see, I got there, I told you…). We sat at the end of the table, the two newbies, and talked about blogging and what it meant to be successful. We talked about a recent piece of mine that had done well (not “Name A Caribbean Island After Me Well”, mind you, but okay-ish) and she put the share numbers in a perspective I’d never thought about or realized. As I pondered what she said to me, for the first time in my short little career I thought that I might actually be successful someday.
Raquel made me feel good about my writing and I’ve never forgotten her words.
When I found out a year ago that a very wise book agent signed her for a book deal, I was was so ecstatic that I squawked like a parrot. Success in writing could not happen to a nicer person and, when she asked me if I would help spread the word about her new book, I was honored and delighted. Her book, “Welcome To The Club, 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming” was released last week and I mean to tell you that it is everything Raquel is: quirky, warm, and pee your pants so much that it runs down your leg and stains your carpet funny.
Perhaps the very best part of receiving an advanced copy wasn’t getting a free book (and we all know I loves me some free shit, yo), it was the way the book was packaged. Her book arrived at my doorstep with a tote bag for me, a game for Fruit Loop #2 and a gracious, handwritten thank you note. Seriously, you guys: you need to buy this book because, dammit, she’s a nice person who knows how to say thank you well. And also because it’s damned funny.
So, go buy it. I promise, you’ll squawk like a parrot. Who doesn’t need that in their life?