It’s Sunday morning. The baby is fussing, so I agree to take him to the living room so my wife, Jessica, can get a few more minutes of sleep. I lay our six-month old son, Eli into his side-sleeper and turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and hand him a toy. He is instantly content.
I then take our Golden Retriever, Allie, outside to do her morning business. She then comes in quick to gobble her food. It’s gone in less than a minute: No Surprise. She brings me a toy so we can play Tug O’ War. She growls playfully and refuses to lose. I wish I had her tenacity.
With Eli still content in his side-sleeper, I bust out a new book to read: “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. I’d been staring longingly at it for weeks when I’d visit Target, so I finally bought it. I just finished a great read last night, the memoir “The Autumn Balloon” by Kenneth Porpora.
Starting a new book is one of my three favorite parts of the reading process. It reminds me a lot of dating–being attracted to them for a few weeks (seeing the book at the store), finally going out on a date (aka opening the book), getting to know them (the first few pages), and eventually falling head-over-heels, a.k.a. the point where you can’t put the book down, which is #2 of my favorite parts.
I’m about ten pages into Fikry–he’s grumpy and bitching at the sales rep for a publishing company trying to sell him her Winter list–when Allie rings the bell. She wants to go out again. I tear myself away from the book and hook her leash. It’s cool this morning, but I don’t mind.Spring is here, and summer is around the corner. It’s my favorite seasonal time of year. Allie finishes and we head back inside. I go to pick up my book, only to hear Eli start to cry. I sigh. Maybe later, Fikry. Maybe later.
Hi, I’m Milo Penbrell. Nice to meet you.
Aside from being a family man, an animal lover (we have a cat too, Noah, but he didn’t factor into this morning’s picture), and a book collector, it’s important for you to know that what I want more in this life than anything right now is to be able to write full time.
I’ve been writing on and off for twenty years, and I’ve wanted to be a published author for the last thirteen. I studied Creative Writing in college and finished my first novel, “Off the Record,” a story about steroids infiltrating a high-profile college baseball team, a couple years after that. Attempts to publish it–an estimated dozen queries to literary agents–failed miserably, so I shoved it in a drawer. Every once in a while, I pull it out, dust it off, read it over and think to myself “I still believe this is good enough to be on the shelves someday.”
Currently though, I recently finished a children’s story I’m super excited to share. I had the idea for a while but was unable to put it to paper. Recently though, I was laid off from my job in finance due to a bank merger and found the time to bring it to life. And much like “Off the Record,” I think it has enormous potential. So far I’ve only sent it to one agent: she didn’t respond. But I’m not giving up on it that easily.
I’ve been back to work now for about two weeks and as I illustrated above, it’s tough to find a fair balance between being a good husband, father, AND writer. But I’ll get there. I HAVE to. I want this too much. How do I stress that in a one-page query letter? That’s where I’ve struggled.
In future posts, I hope to document to you my journey in finding that balance. Hopefully, I’ll have some successful news to share with you as well. It all starts here, so get in on the ground floor. Milo Penbrell is a name I hope you are asking for when you visit the local bookstore. I want it to be a name that inspires you and/or your kids, like so many authors have done for me.
Thanks for reading. Until next time.