I usually think of a surprise as something wonderful and unexpected. I’ve received many lovely surprise gifts. Flowers, an iPad, a card or letter from a friend. Emails from friends I haven’t heard from in a long time are always welcome and special surprises. But I fear they are not worthy of a blog post today.
Having a son and then a daughter were not surprises. I knew who they would be before they were born. I wasn’t even surprised when I found out, because both times I knew. Ok, I knew my son would be a boy. I had boy dreams and we only picked boy names. I was surprised to find out three years later that I was having a girl but I wanted a boy (it’s all I knew) so it didn’t fit my criteria for surprise.
I am good at reading body language, and good at reading how someone is speaking in addition to what he or she is saying. I often ruin surprises for myself.
I don’t like surprises like hide and seek, or the foreboding music in movies or TV shows that let you know someone is hiding behind the curtains or just outside the front door. I cover my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears.
This week I was surprised when my daughter emptied the dishwasher before I asked. Blog worthy? I think not. It was hug and happiness worthy though, that’s for sure.
On the writer front, I worked with my agent Jason Yarn for months before officially signing with him. So that was not a surprise. I was surprised to win some contests with my initial manuscript, but I don’t enter contests unless I think there’s a chance I might win (why enter if you assume you’ll lose?) so it’s happy moment but a huge surprise? Nope.
When THE GLASS WIVES sold, I was grateful and thrilled and relieved. We were going back and forth with editors for a few weeks so as thrilled as I was (and am) which is like over-the-moon thrilled, I was glad to be onto the next step in my publishing journey. I know how hard it is to be traditionally published nowadays. But I believed I had earned it. So, no real surprise post there.
To me, surprises include shock. A gasp. A jolt. A tizzy of excitement. Surprises are unexpected good things. A surprise is something you wouldn’t undo.
I have surprised people with some success. I threw an 18th surprise party for my son where all his friends showed up at the front door at our house and yelled surprise and I had dinner hiding in the oven. I ordered a 50th anniversary cake for my parents’ party this summer. I surprised my daughter last year with tickets to The Book of Mormon (in Chicago) which we’ll see in 2013.
But presents are usually good surprises. I don’t think I could write about that for more than, let’s see, a paragraph or two.
This writer’s block did baffle me. Some might use the word surprise. If you know me at all, you know I’m rarely at a loss for words, and I’ve been blogging all over the Internet for almost seven years. One of my favorite things about The Deb Ball is that our weekly topics are predetermined, so there are – you guessed it – no surprises.
It does bother me to not be able to rally my creativity on command this time. I don’t have ninja turkeys like Deb Susan or an unexpected labor like Deb Kelly (I had two C-sections), I was not attacked by a monkey like Deb Dana, nor was I naked in the shower with a snail like Deb Kerry.
I’m a planner, a list-maker, a careful life observer, a people-watcher, and an internal note-taker. My life is not strewn with surprises.
But – it does seem I’ve written a blog post despite myself.