I came home today to a check. THE check. The first half of my advance for my tween novel.

Excerpt of running commentary inside my head: Seriously, they paid me? And I haven’t written it all yet? Did the person cutting the check know that? Am I allowed to cash it now? Should I buy a pony? Wait, does this mean they are really and truly serious about publishing a book by… me?

The only sobering note is this: On the check, my last name is spelled wrong. It’s misspelled the way it may have been decades ago, before it lost a letter at Ellis Island. It’s almost like they know my history, like they KNOW WHO I AM.

Or, more likely, it’s a typo.

Either way, depositing the check shouldn’t be a problem, so I’m not worried.

Writing was never, ever about money for me; I meant what I said. But the first time I got paid for a short story, I was astounded, truly in awe that someone would actually pay me for my inconsequential fiction, me, the girl who rarely talked in class, insecurities roaring, those fourteen pages were worth publishing and printing and getting paid? My excitement reached geekish heights when I made a color photocopy of the check before I deposited it. I still have that copy somewhere showing my first windfall: a whopping $50. The best money I ever made.

Today, this check feels almost as good as my first $50.

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