Booking It To The Nines

Susan Page
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Wednesday - September 09, 2009
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Today, 9-9-09, is to numeral experts a day that marks “the end.” I guess if you’re reading this column, the prediction didn’t pan out. But, in a way, today is the end for me - the end of putting off a nine-year dream to write a book.

I know. Everybody claims to be writing a book these days. In fact, strolling past the dizzyingly book-packed shelves at Borders or Barnes and Noble might convince people that every literate human on earth has written a book except them. And probably, on this “nine” day, more people are pecking out riveting sentences on their keyboards in pursuit of completing their ninth book. Maybe some books are even about rivets or the number nine, since it seems there is a book on every subject under the moon from aardvarks to zeppelins.

There also are books of every size and shape, and books appropriate for every room in the house, from the coffee table to the restroom. I’ve always loved those small books situated in guest bathrooms, the perfect place for adult ADD people such as myself to read. These little books of wisdom sometimes have only one word per page and give advice on things like grandparenting (“Listen!”), how to embrace your inner child (“Dream!”), and how all you need to know you learned in kindergarten (“Share!”). A friend of mine even has in her guest bath a book of short prayers. One prayer I read was “Keep me going, Lord,” which struck me as very, very funny.

Think of it this way: If someone can write a book on how to fold dollar bills into rings and watches and zoo animals - and someone has - what’s stopping me, or you, from writing about our own pet interests? If there’s anything a bookstore tells us, it’s that there’s a market for almost any topic a brain can conjure up.

So, after nine years of exhausting conversations with myself (I’m a Gemini), arguing back and forth that no one would ever read my book, I finally concluded that if someone would read a book about how many ways you can use pomegranates, someone might read mine. Scriptwriter and filmmaker Nora Ephron wrote a book titled, IFeel Bad About My Neck - and other thoughts on being a woman.Yes, her audience is limited. But women over 50 who are stressing about aging and like to laugh is a really big demographic right there.

And anyway, regardless of how many books actually sell, “it will be a cathartic and educational process” my husband Jerry, the author, tells me. “You will have so much fun once you get started,” he encourages, especially hoping I will write on Monday nights during football season.

But the thing that really got me off the book-writing pity pot was what I realized after writing the MidWeek 25th anniversary column: I had theoretically already written a nearly 2,100 page book based on more than 700 MidWeek columns over 17 years. (Sorry there weren’t any number nines there.) That fact gave me the courage to commit to my dream.

Through column writing I have discovered that there are subjects that experience has equipped me to discuss firsthand: from pageant queening to surviving widowhood and loss; single parenting, being a military wife through Vietnam and beyond, running businesses, and working with African orphans and widows. It sounds tragic, but my hope is that the book will entertain, uplift, and even force a giggle ... or nine.

And speaking of nines on this rare day of nines again, I hope everyone from age 9 to 90 will read the book, that I birth it in less than nine months, and most of all that it’s bigger than a 19-page bathroom book.

You’ll be the ninth to know.

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