It all started when I was twelve years old. I was an entrepreneur even then. At ten I'd approached my elementary school bus driver with a business proposition: I'd sweep his bus every Saturday, if he'd pay me the grand sum of $2.00 a week. He totally went for it, and that was my first job.
Well once I went into middle school, I no longer rode his bus, so I had to come up with a new way to make money. I was doing just that one day while scanning the announcement board up at our local post office, when I came across an advertisement for a new paper "boy." I've never let gender-distinctions stop me, so I grabbed the advertisement off the board and ran home to show my mom.
It was fairly easy to convince her to let me take the job, but since the route was too big for me to do on my own every morning, I roped my big-sis Bek into the whole scheme. She agreed to be my partner, IF she got the much easier "in-town" route. She was a shrewd business woman, even then, and I was so eager to have another job (we were really poor) that I let her have it and took the two "canyon" routes. What I didn't know then, that I'm very aware of now, is that my sister wasn't being lazy or greedy or taking advantage of my eagerness in the least when she took the easier route for herself. She knew exactly what she was doing, and it had everything to do with nurturing my growth as a writer.
|(Me and Bek at my college graduation in 2006)|
I didn't always understand my sister's generosity in giving me the two canyon routes. If you can believe it, there were times I cursed her very existance before the heavens for taking the easier route? Much to my social life's chagrin, she was always done before me, and smelling much more pleasant when we climbed on the bus for school. But even now, I can remember the twinkle in her eye, and the wisdom in her words when she would plug her nose and hold me at arms' length and say, "Han, I know you stink really bad right now and you'll probably have some serious physical deformities from carrying all those papers up those gigantic hills, but one day...one day you'll thank me."
And would you know it, she was right. See, those two, uphill, canyon roads were where the first seeds of Cobbogoth took root in my imagination? (Honestly, how else was I supposed to get through the back-breaking journey?) Great imagination was VITAL! And my wise, old sis, Bek knew it. She wasn't being selfish at all when she chose the much easier route for herself, she was simply sacrificing her own creative cultivation for my own.
No, but really, on a more serious note, I really do want to dedicate this post to my sister, Bekah. For those of you who don't know, Bekah is still my business partner, so to speak--she's my graphic designer. She created the exquisite cover for my book, and just completed the even more breathtaking interior of Cobbogoth. (Which, as of last night, is officially in the hands of the printers, EEEEEKKKK!!)
But that's not the half of what she's done. My big-sis Bek transformed this blog and is currently re-building an equally smashing website for Cobbogoth that should be up by my release date. She has added a visual layer to my world and this story that I never dreamed possible, and everything she's done has gone above and beyond my greatest expectations. Because of our time spent together as kids, I knew she would blow me away if I hired her, and she has done more than that. Her enthusiasm and belief in Cobbogoth has kept me going through these last grueling, up-hill-canyon-road months of completing this project, and I just wanted to take a minute to give her a cyber-space shout out.
And so, I raise my glass of coconut milk to you, Bek. It was a jarring, wash board-road-with-a-slight-chance-of-rabies beginning, but look where the paper route has taken us!
You are amazing and kind and uber-talented and kept me laughing, even when we were under a crushing deadline. Because of your belief in me clear back during my dyslexia days, I knew, from the moment I started writing Cobbogoth, that, until I'd written a story that wow'd you, I wouldn't be satisfied. And here we are!
So, in the endearing words of the vikings on How to Train Your Dragon, right after they break open the mountain and all the dragons come pouring out: WEEEEE DID IT!!! Now let's just hope there isn't a giant, metaphorical mammoth-dragon waiting in the dark to come and amputate one of our legs. :)