Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Remembering Laura Andersen: Pre-Publication Style

When I planted my stake in "second tuesdays" on the blog Cabinet of Curiosities, I didn't realize I'd have the honor of posting on Laura's Book Birthday, as we call them around here. Laura is a fellow Cabinet member, the reason the Cabinet exists, and a dear friend. This is a great day to be a Curiosity and the perfect time to reminisce.

If you read nothing else of my post, read this:

You'll be so glad you did.  

And in thinking of Laura, I'm remembering back way too many years to the very first writing class I ever took, which was online, and somewhat scary for some reason. As I posted an introduction to me, which was really just sort of a silly bluff of an intro, there was Laura, laughing at my jokes, being kind, accepting my weirdness, and writing suddenly wasn't as frightning. 

I remember the first time Laura posted a chapter for critique. It was astounding, beautifully written, way beyond anything anyone else was posting. I quickly became a ruthless, eagle-eye critiquer just to have something to offer this woman. The truth his, her characters were already vivid. Her plots, twisty and surprising. Her language gorgeous, fluid and effortless to read. It was amazing she hadn't been published already. Of course, she hadn't submitted anything yet. I always felt from day one it was a privilege to read her beginnings. It was a given that I would be honored to write something like this someday.

I remember the struggles when Laura thought she might not be meant to be writing. What writer hasn't walked the edge of that particular cliff? I reacted, embarrassingly, with anger. Didn't she realize she already was a writer? It's just who she was. She couldn't give up. "Laura not writing" just didn't compute in my world. Not very nice of me, since it is after all, Laura's world not mine. But I am to this day very glad she stuck it out, novel after novel after beautiful novel, in a life that hasn't been full of peaceful gazebos and gobs of free time. Laura claims to be a plucky writer and even without my silly tantrums, she would never have given up.

I remember Laura reading a chapter of mine for the first time at a critique group. In a spontaneous, English accent. "I don't think I can read any other way!" she says. At any rate, she made my chapter sound fabulous. I can't wait for her reading tomorrow at her book launch party.

And I remember when I first read The Boleyn King and I thought, THIS is it. This is the one. This cannot NOT be a published book. And Laura felt it was The One as well. And after a couple more novels, suddenly, it is. And Laura is taking the published world by storm as we all knew she would in that first class. 

God bless, Laura. Thank you for being you, through it all, everywhere, and for sharing yourself with all of us and the world. We are very lucky to have you.