The rest of my chapters

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 25, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Picture it: little M.M., stapling paper together and calling them novels. I used to sit in my grandpa’s home office and “write books” with his legal-size office paper.

“No, this is how you spell it,” I had whined to my dad about the word octopus at the tender age of about five. Back then, I was just a little kid with white hair who enjoyed the fulfillment of walking out of Grandpa’s house with my paper book.

Now picture it: junior year of college. I’m standing before my professor, asking, “Can you look over my proposal?”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The proposal was for my book, Between the Ocean and the Stars. Of course, my professor had said yes, she would look over it and critique it, and then, hopefully, a publisher would pick it up.

I’d waited on pins and needles while she had it, wondering whether it was ever going to be good enough for a publisher to sign.

I’d asked her that question at the end of Fiction Writing, a class of hers I was in, and two of my friends had said confidently to me, “I just know one day I’m going to walk into Barnes & Noble and see your book on a shelf.”

Picture it: last month. I’m sitting before a new Fiction Writing class, instructed by my old professor, and she introduces me as M.M. Cochran, author of her debut novel.

“I never thought I’d be here. I remember sitting here thinking I’d never be an author. It took literal sweat and tears to get here.”

I said this to the class I spoke to at North Greenville University last month. My old college professor had asked me to come to speak with her class of a few writers about the publishing process and how I got to where I am today.

“She sat in this class a few years ago,” Dr. Collier had said.

“I never thought I would be here doing this,” I had responded.

Fast forward to this time last week.

Picture it: about 18 years later, I sat there signing my own novels at my own launch party. When you walked in, the books were strategically stacked. Circling to a table in the back, I had strewn out some press coverage of my release, my original manuscript, and those little paper books I’d stapled together in my grandpa’s house long over a decade ago. I had chosen to display them, because I felt as though they represented my progress over the ages.

Alas, the ending to my column is much like the ending to my story: bittersweet.

Because all the hard work was over as of last week at my launch party, where several of the beautiful faces reading this made an appearance! I have you, dearest readers, to thank for so much.

For now,… for the rest of my chapters.