December 3 – Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
(Author: Ali Edwards)
The books. It seems important that I am alone at this moment. Or maybe Chris hands me the small brown box delivered by UPS and addressed to Nancy Schatz Alton, but he leaves me alone with my bounty. Astrid and I had joked about when we thought the books project would finally be complete. Our funny answer was when The New York Times published an excellent book review. The real answer is right in front of me. I am in my new blue office. I go to our kitchen to get scissors to open the box. I sit down and have at it, quickly slashing the box open.
There are the books I wrote, in all their glory. I hadn’t even really pictured what they would look like, although I obviously could have figured that out earlier. Each one is roughly 4 by 6 inches, the perfect size, and the colors on the covers just pop. The Healthy Back Book’s striking hues are light blue and moss-green, and the picture is of a woman’s back and head as she stretches her arms, hands clasped, above her head. The Healthy Knees Book is orange (orange!) and a deeper blue, and the picture is of the back of a man running on a lovely beach. There is my name, right after Astrid Pujari, MD, in tiny, elegant white print: Nancy Schatz Alton. This is the dream come true. This is what I pictured when I was in late elementary school, riding the horses in the playground behind my house. My name on the front cover of a book.
I am elated, euphoric, just overcome with emotions. I cry and cry, and make sounds, weird, happy sounds of disbelief. I had done it. What I truly thought was impossible. Through so much hard work, with tons of support and so many hours of work, I had written not one but two entire books. If I remembered correctly, I even like the writing in these books. And they are lovely and gorgeous and perfect. I am proud, and I make myself own the moment. I tell myself: You did this. While it was true it took more than a village to write this book, in the end, it was me, hunched over my computer, writing every single sentence. In truth, it took building up a belief in myself I never let myself rely on before. It took a faith I had ixnayed time and time again in my life. So often, I told myself I wasn’t worthy of the work. With this project, with these books, I could no longer think like that. You cannot write a book if you don’t believe in your worthiness. Or you can, but it will suck.
I own much to these two beautiful books. I thank them for this new-found belief in my dharma. I am a writer. I am an author. My books will be read by other people. Someday, I will walk into a bookstore and see them. I am incredibly happy.