When I was 12, I was on a swim team. Actually I was on a few of them. It was my big extracurricular activity. One November afternoon, after my mom dropped me off at the high school where we practiced, I decided it was time to take a break. Not exactly one of my better ideas. It was a chilly gray day, and there was no place to go to get away from the icy drizzle.
I stayed outside and watched through the chlorine-stained window while my team did their laps. At some point, I picked up a round stone and began scraping it against a cement wall. I was surprised that it was the rock that got marked up, not the building.
I never went inside. I never told anyone what I did. (so it's true confession time here on my blog..um sorry Mom). There was something important to me about that day. Before I got picked up from 'practice', I shoved the rock in my pocket. It was the first in my collection.
Here's my rock collection now. It's filled with memories. The ones with carved words on them ("Create." "Imagine" "Laugh" etc) are gifts from friends and family. The others I found on special days.
And that big sparkly "hope".. that came from my friend, Ann.
I call them my writing rocks. They stay near my desk. Before I send a manuscript out into the world, I print out the first page, and place it on top of the rocks and underneath the word 'hope'. It spends the night there. Yeah I know. It's a silly superstition. But I feel like all those memories and all those people have been my rocks throughout the years (I'm sorry. I couldn't resist the bad pun) and provide a foundation for all my stories. And it never hurts to have a little hope.