I got a rejection on Sunday while parked in some snow on a random side street in Chicago. Surprisingly enough, it was a positive rejection, and the editors encouraged me to submit again soon. Finally, I got a pitying shoulder squeeze instead of a punch to the face. God, what a relief.
I must now inform you there’s been a development with my best friend Edith Egypt (not her real name), who is an Egyptologist (not her real profession), and her kid. Let’s call the kid Elisa Egypt.
Edith texted me about Elisa, a common and reasonable practice for us. Elisa is nearly four, and I guess books are becoming more and more of a thing for her. But one night, Edith told Elisa how books work and that people write them. I assume she did not touch on how soul-crushing the process is because Elisa was fascinated and didn’t run out of the room screaming.
Dear Edith then explained how Aunt Nathalie once wrote a book, and Elisa was like NO WAY. Edith was like YES WAY. To prove the assertion, she pulled a hard copy of the lone genre fiction novel I published and showed it to her daughter.
Apparently I completely blew this kid’s mind without even being there to see it. As if that wasn’t enough to make me misty, Edith informed me the kid was able to sit through an entire chapter book the other day.
Friends, the missile launch codes have arrived.
I’ve been waiting years for Elisa to be old enough to process books. If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m very meh on infants and many children in general, so I’ve been kind of a terrible aunt figure. I never babysat or changed diapers. I held the baby-version of Elisa exactly once, and it was super weird because she looked like an alien. I’ve definitely been more of a “text me if you need to bitch or want GIFs of goats” support system for Edith.
However, I always knew any spawn of Edith’s would be fucking baller, so I’ve been hanging out like an aging understudy waiting for my moment to shine. And that moment is now. Anything with books, I can do. I can’t read to Elisa in person because COVID, so I ordered her a couple of blank kid-sized storybooks a few weeks ago. When they arrived, I told Edith to deliver the following message to her kid:
Aunt Nathalie can write books, and so can you.
Elisa was so excited that she wrote her own story the same day. It’s called Elisa’s Monster Story #1. This kid isn’t even four years old, and she’s already plotting an urban fantasy series. What a genius. Here’s the story, along with some of Elisa’s illustrations:
Yuma eats nine pieces of candy.
Yuma has a stomachache and the candy comes out. Yuma found some clouds raining on a jar of soft candy. Then another cloud came and another candy.
A storm came.
Yuma decided to grow a plant. She planted some vegetables to make her tummy feel better. This is her house, and this is her garden full of carrots, some broccoli, some spinach, and some vegetables. Another monster came and scared Yuma. Yuma and the other monster had a fight. It was a big fight.
Then a hunter came and scared Yuma and the other monster away. They found a big candy. Yuma couldn’t eat it by herself. It’s too big. So they cooked it down until it was small enough to eat.
The monster fight scene is by far the best part, in my opinion. Kid knows how to raise those stakes.
I’m pretty sure Edith wants me to die of a melted heart because she also told me Elisa keeps the book under her bed and reads it. Every. Single. Night.
I am probably a monster myself for encouraging Elisa with this whole stupid writing thing, so hopefully it won’t stick. Even so, I think I better go cry some proud aunt tears now.