It was in Target, in the womenâ€™s clothing sectionâ€”the teen section, actually, directly adjacent to the designer capsule collection display. I remember this very vividly. There was a cardigan that I thought was very charming. My phone was in my hand, and I heard the email tone chime. I pulled up my inbox and there was an email from my agent. The preview said â€œHOORAY JEâ€¦â€ my heart spasmed, pulled free, spun a loop, hung suspended for endless moments while I waited for the whole email to load. And I read, â€œHOORAY JEN.â€ And some stuff about checking with other editors. And it took me a moment to scroll down to the part where the editor said, â€œWe do want to make an offer.â€
I read that again. â€œWe do want to make an offer.â€ I read it again. It still said, â€œWe do want to make an offer.â€ I thought, â€œOh. Oh, my memoir. My memoir is being purchased. My memoir is being purchased by a publisher I admire. My memoir is being published by a publisher I admire and Iâ€”â€ stopped thinking, because I had fallen down. I was on my knees, in the middle of the teenâ€™s clothing section of target, and I had dropped my phone into the little shopping basket I had been carrying over my arm, and I was sobbing. Shaking. Having trouble breathing. Realizing my sobs were audible and maybe I shouldnâ€™t be gasping for air and howling on the floor of the Target womenâ€™s clothing section with my face on the carpet and my arms wrapped around my shopping basket.
â€œOh my god,â€ a woman said, and I looked up. A Target employee, terrified that she was watching someone die in a terrible way. She said, â€œAre youâ€”are you okay? Whatâ€™s wrong, are you okay?â€
My face contorted into a horrible rictus grin and my skin was tight and my eyes felt like huge skinned grapes and I gasped, â€œIâ€™mâ€”Iâ€™M SO HAPPY!â€
She disappeared back around the rack of cardigans and I sobbed a little more quietly until I realized that the carpet of the Target womenâ€™s section was no place to be sprawled out overcome with emotional emotions.
I dragged myself up and I staggered around the halls of Target, wide-eyed and full of a feeling I couldnâ€™t identifyâ€”terrorjoy? Happyfear? BLINDENTHSUSIASTICPANIC. I started calling people and I couldnâ€™t stop crying (â€œIâ€™M SO HAPPY!â€) or shouting, and I thought maybe I should leave Target before they called the police.
Ten more minutes I cried in the car, before I managed to drag myself home.
And that is the story about how I learned that my childhood dreamâ€”my lifelong dream. My only real, true dream except the one about lasering my name on the moonâ€”had come true.
Sometimes it felt like it took far too longâ€”why am I so old before I have a book come out, when all Iâ€™ve ever wanted to do was be a writer? Sometimes I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m as incredibly lucky as I was and am, and that it was too easy and whatâ€™s the catch. Most of the time I canâ€™t believe I have a book coming out.
I always thought that if I ever published a book it would be An Important Literary Work of Fiction. Somehow, Iâ€™m publishing an incredibly personal memoir that I hope talks about important issues surrounding body image. Someday Iâ€™ll publish novels. Young adult, or literary fiction, or science fiction or non-fiction or anything. I want to write. I hope people like what I write and want to read it. Iâ€™ll keep writing whatever happensâ€”but you know this is a hell of a kick in the pants.
You guys, I have a book coming out! The cover is beautiful and my editor and publisher are utterly amazing and my agents are awesome and I am so very lucky and happy. Itâ€™s coming out February 2013. You can pre-order it if you like! An e-book edition is coming soon! And every day I go look at my page on amazon and think, holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap! Amen.