She Played Her Cards Right
Words are my ground zero.
Some of my earliest memories feature me asking my dad if a specific series of letters made a word. “What does ‘C’ ‘R’ ‘T’ spell?” My patient father explained repeatedly that I would need a vowel in there somewhere if the goal was an actual word. When I fully grasped the power of vowels, there was no stopping me.
Childhood me could have had a friendship bracelet with the library. Those summer reading programs kicked off an over four decades long habit of tracking my reading. It has been ages since I have read fewer than 100 books in a calendar year. I, routinely, have to resist the urge to read at red lights. Some people have a glass of wine to relax, I sip a couple of chapters.
Adolescent me wrote novellas about all of my friends. Each of them got scripted as the main character in her own romantic comedy. Every single crush was material for me to pen playful fantastical encounters. I wrote, what I believed to be, hysterical dialogue with my friends getting all the best lines. Rest assured, if you were my friend, there would be a happily ever after.
Having experienced adolescence before the rise of the text message, I authored copious notes to all manner of acquaintance. Folded papers were passed between classes, most often they were little origami bullet pointed lists of all the highlights of our friendship. We were all of 15 and I could fill that many pages with inside jokes and memories of all the ways our relationship was the best thing on the planet.
College me determined that reading about writing and writing about reading was a pretty glorious way to spend a handful of years. Being assigned stacks of reading felt, a bit, like paradise.
Journaling has always been a part of how I process my days. If I don’t write it down, did it even happen? Decades worth of journals serve as charts and graphs of how I have grown and been amused. I have notepads on my nightstand, in my purse, and in my glove box. Ideas strike on their own time table and I cannot risk trusting my own memory. Notes, thoughts, check-list items, thoughts I have had and things I would like to think about, all of it gets jotted down. By pen, on paper, like the good Lord intended. That pen is a Pilot G-2 0.38, because everyone has prettier penmanship with a fine tipped instrument. It is retractable, eliminating the hassle of a cap. The jet black ultra fine line is divine. I am willing to concede that someone may have a different favorite pen, but I am unwilling to fully trust anyone who doesn’t have a favorite pen.
Given this lifelong love affair with words, it will surprise no one that I was a member of a book club. A friend of a friend also participated in this club and pulled me aside after one early morning meeting. She asked if I had ever considered writing a line of greeting cards. “Nope,” was the long and short of it. My family had just opened a second location of our family business and between motherhood, wife-ing, and this brand spanking new baby flower shop, my hands were full. She persisted “You have a unique, succinct relationship with words. I work with a printer and have access to all of the tools from designing to folding your printed card. You should come up with five ideas by tomorrow night and I won’t charge you a penny. The deal I will offer you is that if any of them sell, you have to invest those sales into a reorder. If nothing sells, you owe me nothing and are out nothing. I suspect you will sell out quickly. My suspicions are seldom wrong.”
That is the whole entire birth story of this little line of greeting cards. Me, a lady with a ridiculously nerdy affair with words said something, in the course of a book club, which caught the attention of another lady, who also has a geeky relationship with language, who had the courage to ask a question, give a deadline, and follow through with an offer.
Those first five designs sold quickly, per the conditions of our deal, a reorder was placed. A whirlwind of additional designs and perpetual reorders have followed. We are four hundred designs into her suspicion and from this perspective, there is no end in sight.