Finding Raspberries

“Raspberries! Raspberries!” The general cry of delight was enough for Papa to stop the suburban on our way to town so that we could scramble out. Living deep in the forest, an hour or two from any civilization, had its perks. If you have never experienced a wild raspberry plucked straight from a bush in the woods, you have never experienced the truth of the delectable treat God created, from the gentle pop as you bite down, to simultaneously sweet and tart juices dribbling down your throat that stems any other craving.

All of us kids ate berries as fast as we could pick them, wandering from one bush to the other until Papa finally called us back to the suburban so we could be on our way. Reluctantly, we piled back in, Papa started up the car, drove around the bend, and—

“A bear! A bear!” This cry was not given with the same joy the wild raspberries had received. There, just around the corner—less than a few feet from where we had just been standing—was a large black bear, also enjoying the fruits of nature.

I think Mom could have rivaled a ghost for how pale she went. And I’m pretty sure we were no longer allowed to pick wild raspberries without first checking for bears.

You never know what’s just around the bend, right?

That’s what I keep telling myself these days. Because, I’ve hit a new milestone! I have officially received all edits from my editor, am more than a third of the way through my ACTUAL, FOR REAL, FINAL reading of my book, and my draft query letter is currently with my editor for feedback! (My editor, btw, is Michele Chynoweth, who has been great to work with, in case you want to look her up: https://michelechynoweth.com/).

Do you know what that means? Conceivably, I could be submitting my book to literary agents by next week. **insert flabbergasted emoji here (do they even have those?)**

Now that I have actually written the book, edited it, gone through beta readers, gone through an editor, created a query letter, and have a list of potential agents started, there’s this part of me that is completely terrified to truly begin searching. Because, what if I went through all that work for nothing? What if no one likes the book? What if it never gets published? What if. . . well, you get the idea, the what-ifs can go on and on. It’s one of my most common struggles—I don’t want to try the next thing because I’m afraid of failing, so, you know, if you don’t try, you can’t fail, right?

And yet, it shows how far I’ve come working through that fear (with God’s help!) that I know I’m going to proceed anyway, what-ifs and fears of failure be d*** (as they used to do in the old books to avoid swearing).

And whether I get an agent or get published or not, I know I’ve made it one step higher on the Alpine Path. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to say along with Emily when she got her first acceptance:

“The world was hers—the Alpine Path was as good as climbed—what signified a few more scrambles to the summit?”

Emily Climbs

Who knows what’s around the bend in the corner? Whether I find raspberries or a bear, I’m pretty sure my only regret would be if I never looked.

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