Making my dawn Dad rounds today. Cahyo's eating her cereal and getting ready for the last days of school. Megan's already gone. Eric will sleep for another six hours!

But, apropos of the posting yesterday about the writing life, I just wanted to add this note. I went to an educators' convention last night at Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art. I signed autographs, with no break, from 7:00 to 9:30. Wore out three assistants. Signed 500 books.

Two and half hours of autographs!

One Christmas, when I was dying in San Diego--of boredom, poverty, despair, worry and doubt, my mom had hit rock bottom. I had come back from living in Hollywood, and I was working in Mexico with the poor. Living where I dropped--my mom's house, my brother's back room, friends' apartments.

Christmas Day.

My half-siblings had invited us to Christmas dinner. My mom thought she'd been delivered and didn't have to buy food for the day--a real blessing. Then the sibs didn't show up to get us when they said they would. We waited two hours, worrying as I have always done. I had no money to save my mom--and how could I get her a Christmas meal on Christmas morning?

When I called them to ask them what was happening, they told me they were too busy to drive up to my house to pick us up. I could hear the family partying in the background. My family.

One of the missionary gang from Pastor Von's church--Jeff Huckabone--stopped by to wish us a Merry Christmas. He was upset, so he and I drove to 7-11 and found a can of ham for my mom.
I was living a Christmas not unlike those of the poor I worked with in Tijuana.

God is hard-core: I never figured out how evangelists got private jets and mansions.

That year, friends, my mom gave a present. It's all she had. A small sheet of stamps so that I could submit one more story or poem to try to get published.

If you had traveled back in time to that young man's Christmas Day and told him he'd have a house, kids, happy marriage, books galore, money, not one but three vehicles, and would sign books for two and a half hours straight, he would have fallen to his knees and wept.

Get to work.

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