If at First You Don’t Succeed… A Try A Few Dozen More Times

I watch a lot of Oprah. I have a long history with the woman that stretches back to me and my grandma when I was a tiny chica in grade school. I now DVR the show every day. I own Oprah’s 20th anniversary DVDs and the book she released at Christmas. My husband thinks I’m crazy.

However, some of the philosophies that Miss O touts really do make sense. For example, one popular refrain is that if you don’t learn a lesson the first time, you will continue to be faced with that same lesson your whole life until you finally get it through your thick skull. However, she phrases it much more elegantly. Something like, “God speaks in a whisper, and if you don’t get it, he tosses a pebble, then a stone, then brick, until the whole house falls on you.”

I’m in the throws of several life lessons at the moment. And I’m really hoping that I get them this time, and that I don’t end up with my house in a pile of bricks (and this is Philly, so it would be brick…and shutters).

I’m currently going through the copy edits for my second book. Now, when I had received the copy edits for Amor, it was the first time I was faced with the “secret code” of copy editors—all those red squiggly lines and hieroglyphics that make up the corrections to my prose. It took about two weeks to decipher them, read them, add in my changes and mail them back.

I didn’t make a copy.

You can probably guess where this is going. A couple of weeks ago, I received the proofs for Amor and many of my changes had been accidentally overlooked by typesetters, or printers, or somebody. I had to recreate them all from scratch. My wonderful mother-in-law even volunteered to read the book (two times! How great is she!) in one panicked week to help me look for additional errors. And all the while, my poor agent was saying, “You really should’ve made a copy.”

This time, I will.

And while that may be an easy lesson to learn, I find that those lessons dealing with your personal life are much harder to recognize. I’m blessed that in my 30 years, I’ve formed a lot of close friendships. My husband and I joke that we’re the real-life “wedding crashers,” only we’re always invited (10 weddings the year that we got married, and another 10 this current year). I know all the words to “Shout!,” I can also recite First Corinthians and chant a mean “Baruch Atah Adonai…”

But I also know that with friends, family and festive functions, comes drama. I’ve had to deal with people who were afraid to walk up steps at a reception (we’re talking, like, five steps), people who have relieved themselves in areas that were not bathrooms, and people who have blown the surprise for the bridal shower. But whether the problems result from big things, like scheduling conflicts, or little things, like car bombs (the alcoholic kind, not the dangerous kind…though I guess they’re both kinda dangerous), something always comes up. Always.

Now, the question is, have I learned enough from dealing with my past experiences to apply those lessons to this next crop of weddings? Or will I wait until I need to learn a lesson so big that it’s on national television (like that diva from the Big Give who Oprah reprimanded in the after show…ouch. Watch it here: http://www.oprah.com/about/oprahsbiggive/episodes/106/episodes_114.jhtml)?

I’m hoping I figure it out before I end up on national TV. But if I don’t, then I hope it’s Oprah I end up on and not Jerry Springer. I’m not good at throwing chairs.


So…..now that the PA primaries are over, Hillary and Barack don’t call anymore? It’s just over? No, goodbye. I was receiving a good four messages a day from Hil. Another two from Barack. And another two from John Dougherty (State Senate, but man did that guy have a ton of cash for a promotional campaign. He called me as much as Michelle Obama). I mean, Barack’s people offered to drive me to the polls! Hillary’s people invited me to rallies! We were close. I was important. Real-life, non-computer generated people even called me. And now, poof! It’s just over. Barack was in Indiana before the primary numbers were even in. And CNN’s already forgotten about us. I feel so used…

Posted in editing, Oprah, wedding, writing, young adult fiction author

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