Like he would wear a made-to-order seersucker tuxedo to a black tie wedding.
And in that very dapper seersucker tuxedo, Byron asked me about my book.
What's happening with your book?
When's it coming out?
Where can I buy it?
But Byron isn't just a good friend; he's also a board member of a nonprofit independent press that focuses on Southern authors and stories. He knows a thing or two about publishing.
After I told him that I was "this close"—I was holding my thumb and forefinger a half inch apart—to being offered a publishing contract by a university press, he asked me how many copies I expected the press to print in their first run.
A question I frankly hadn't even thought about. A question I now know to research and ask about when I negotiate my contract with the publisher. (Note: I said "when" not "if"—I am manifesting my memoir's destiny!)
Byron's question caught me off guard.
"I don't know," I responded—
Since then, I've been pondering why I responded that way.
Sure, there's truth in that response. It is UNLIKELY, VERY UNLIKELY, that a debut memoir published by a university press will be a bestseller (I'm not talking about scoring an Amazon bestseller badge, which is cool but different).
But damn. What might happen if I didn't start out with that limiting belief?
I didn't ever imagine that "The Subaru Should Have Been a Sign," my essay about coming out at midlife and reclaiming my identity—dents and all, would go viral.
I didn't ever imagine that it would lead a Today Show producer to ask me to do a video story about my midlife leap—which will air sometime next month.
So, while my memoir may not turn out to be a bestseller, I'm going to act as if it will.
I am going to dream big.
I want to reach the thousands of readers who are out there, longing to live out loud but afraid of the cost.
Maybe they're hiding in a closet because they are LGBTQ+ and are afraid of rejection or worse.
Or maybe they've lived safe, comfortable, conventional lives and know they were made for more ... But it feels too hard & scary to make a big leap.
I want those readers to know they aren't alone. That someone like them felt the same way, struggled with the same questions. Made the leap and survived ... And now I'm thriving—finally living fully & authentically.
I want them—YOU—to know:
I want them to know that for me—and I believe for them and for you—there is & will be—joy on the other side.
Damn, maybe I will have a bestseller.
Because I truly believe my story has the potential to change thousands of lives.
Starting today, I commit to dreaming big.
Why don't we dream big together?!