An idea’s birthday

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One year ago (April 1), I set out to do a marathon of drawings for a “silly side project that’s like, no big deal or anything or whatever. But I seriously don’t even care.”

I’ve gone over this love story before, but I think it’s worth rehashing.

2012 started with a bang. I went to Mardi Gras, SXSW and ran a half marathon. It was weekend after weekend of total-utta-insanity. Then BLAMMO, I had a minor case of post-running depression. I needed something to funnel all my energy into. I decided to do something about an I idea I had been mulling around for the last year or so, but didn’t do anything with because starting is hard and it requires starting.

I decided during a conversation with my good friend Amy, that I would do a bazillion drawings in April. It would be like training. I had to it even when I’d rather be sleeping or at the pub. I used the same discipline that got me out of bed to do 10 miles in order to draw pictures of human measuring sticks. I’d casually post these short people drawings to the blog day after day.

I did it. It was hard. I didn’t always want to stay up late working on them. I wondered what was getting into me. Who did I think I was? There was absolutely no reason to believe this would pan out and become anything at all. Since I deiced to start somewhere—anywhere, I was allowed to make stupid bad drawings. And I did. And they’re still up.

Something inside me knew it was a good idea and I had to do it. I can’t describe it other than delusion.

Nobody knew I was staying up late in hopes that it would one day turn it into a book. I figured I’d self-publish on Blurb and maybe down the road a little birdie (yeah, a real bird) would drop it on the desk of a major editor in New York (smoking a cigar with his feet up on the table during a business meeting. “STOP THE PRESS! We have a better one! Clarence! Call Ms. Murphy immediately!”).

Chad knew what to do. He writes and he told me I should submit to agents after I had about 30 posted (100 was the intention from the start).

I went to his house on a sunny Saturday afternoon the first week of May. He helped me write the query to submit to agents. I remember walking with him to the gas station down the road while he bought cigarettes (or some sort of lung poison) peach tea as we discussed my project. He encouraged me (classic Chad) and told me that someone would catch on to this idea.

I tried to guard my heart the way they tell you to in junior high youth group. Except my heart was my heart and the boy was a book.

It took everything in me to not tell anyone; this thing was too big. I felt like I would jinx it if I said it out loud.

I expected to wait weeks or months, but after submitting my query, I got an email the next day.

From Laurie, my agent.

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I feel like a jerk sometimes when I tell this story because it worked out so well for me. Beyond Laurie emailing me, the process has worked out seamlessly and taken almost as little time as it could have for being a book (still takes forever). Plume didn’t buy I’D RATHER BE SHORT because I was the best applicant; I was the only applicant. It was my idea and all I had to do was try. I used my gifts and my uniqueness the only way I knew how.

If I was born seven feet tall and loved hula hooping plus magic shows, I hope I would have done something with that too.

Don’t write this off because it sounds cliché: delusion bridges the gap between dreaming and doing.
What’s your story?

*photos are taken in my Waco apartment at the end of the book process.
Twitter & Insta: @beckycmurphy

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8 Comments

  1. Posted 04/09/2013 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    1) I love this story. 2) I was not buying cigarettes. I specifically remember you asking me if I was going for cigarettes and I wasn’t. (I think I wanted peach tea in a can). The main reason for the walk to the store was to clear my head as we had been writing for two hours and that’s usually when my writing head needs a break. But I stress that I was not buying cigarettes.

  2. Karen Mechler
    Posted 04/09/2013 at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I often brag about my short friend in Austin.

    I miss you so much.

    I haven’t held you in my arms in almost THREE FREAKING YEARS!!!

    You fit so perfectly in my arms…

    I have a present for you that I’ve been holding on to for months, but I think it may be time to let it go to a better place (Austin…you.)

    I love this story, also.

    I’m super super times infinity proud of you.

    We have so much to catch up on.

    Tell me when to visit you!

    I’ve recently become obsessed with toasted pumpkin seeds.

    My parents just visited me and my mom said she thinks about you a lot (certain art makes her think of “Becky art.”)

    I’m not even kidding.

    Remember when we were roommates in Roma?

    Remember when we brought Becky to NYC and she ran off because she fell in love with the city that never sleeps? (and Donald Trump of course)

    Can we live together for a weekend this fall without a care in the world?

    Can I meet your awesome friends?

    Will they even like me?

    Why should I care if they even like me?

    I don’t care.

    But I do still…

    I’m so dumb sometimes.

    And fickle…

    You are short and I like it.

    I like you!

  3. Posted 04/09/2013 at 7:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You are amazing! A Marathon, A Book! What’s next? Dream big then dream bigger. Love you.

  4. Posted 04/15/2013 at 6:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Happy Birthday, sweets!

  5. Anonymous
    Posted 05/06/2013 at 8:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    this is the best bex.

  6. Posted 07/12/2013 at 2:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Never feel bad about your story! And I so hope you will keep telling it. There are times we need to be reminded that, yes, it’s good to be ready to chase down those dreams and to know some stamina and determination may very well be required of us, but it isn’t always a guaranteed struggle. It’s not as though you flailed your way through this, relying on connections to make a passing fancy a reality. You had the talent and desire to do this. That the right people came along at the right time and you found yourself living the dream well in advance of what you were anticipating is a BEAUTIFUL thing! It’s worthy of sharing and celebration! Life is good! God is good! Your story is a reminder that it isn’t all rejection and slavish misery. People need to hear that sometimes. You’re sensitive enough to not tell it if it’s going to be like rubbing salt in someone’s wound. But never think because this seemed to come easy that you have to downplay it or keep quiet about it. This is actually a lovely and inspiring tale and you’re likely to move more people than you know with it.

    • Posted 07/12/2013 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You are so sweet, Sydney. Biggest encourager. (don’t tell mom I told you that).

      Thank you for your kind words. That is so thoughtful of you to read this stuff and take the time to write a thoughtful response. It meant a lot to me the first time you started reading and it means the world to me now.

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