Monday, August 26, 2013

Writing and a Bicycle Built for Two

Most people who know me, know that I’m obsessed with vintage purple Schwinn tandem bikes.

Purple tandem in the 1965 Schwinn catalog
Some of you know me and some of you don’t. For those that have heard me go on and on about the vintage purple Schwinn tandem, please indulge me.

On my little piece of Internet real estate, I tell a story about a purple Schwinn tandem that lived in the garage of my neighbor’s house but belonged to every kid on the street. We all knew there was magic in that violet paint, those white gripped handlebars, those funky shaped seats.

Talk to any kid who spent their childhood on Sixth Street circa 1980s and say the words “purple tandem,” then stand back and watch what happens. We are transformed. We are transported.

No one knows what became of the mean purple machine that cruised up and down Sixth Street and beyond. But I’ve always known that if I couldn’t track down the exact purple tandem from my childhood, I wanted one find one just like it. I think having that tandem is a way to stay connected to my little kid glory days and a way to pass the magic of that shared neighborhood experience to my own kiddos.

In recent years, the purple tandem has taken on new meaning for me. It has become a symbol of my writing. On my little piece of Internet real estate, I say that writing for kids is like riding a tandem bike…you can do it alone, but it’s more fun when you have someone to share the ride. After several years of working on my writing craft and learning about publishing, I realize that sharing the ride isn’t just fun, it’s absolutely necessary to succeed.

This summer, two really spectacular things have happened. I found the elusive 1964 purple Schwinn tandem on Ebay. And I won it!

When that happened, I knew without a doubt that the stars were aligning for something big.

And I was right.

Because, as of last week, I accepted an offer of representation from Danielle Smith of Foreword Literary. So, I have a new purple tandem and a new partner to share the publishing ride!

There were many times I almost gave up my search for the purple tandem, or settled for something less than what I wanted because it would be easier (let’s just say finding vintage blue or green Schwinn tandem bikes is much easier than finding a purple…almost as difficult as finding an agent!). But I stuck to my vision and didn’t stop looking. The same goes for my agent search.

Despite this exciting news, I have work ahead of me. My vintage purple Schwinn tandem needs quite a bit of restoration before it’s ready to ride. And, with Danielle’s help, my picture book manuscripts need some fine tuning. Both should be ready to roll soon!

What’s your symbol that embodies your writing and your writing journey?


Victoria J. Coe said...

Kellie, I smell a great MG novel about that purple tandem bike that belongs to every kid in the neighborhood! With a touch of magic?

Angela Brown said...

Congratulations on landing an agent. I sure hop you find as much joy building this new relationship as you did enjoying that purple tandem Schwinn during your childhood :-)

Julie Falatko said...

I love this story! And I love that bike! SO COOL.

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

Congratulations Kellie! How wonderful that the bike was such a good omen, and what amazing places you are going to go!

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Congrats, Kellie. . .how exciting! I, too, enjoyed your analogy. . .

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Congratulations on landing an agent, and a cool bike!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

So fabulous! Two exciting bits of news, and I love the way you tied them together! Congratulations, Kellie!

Md Mahbubu Hasan said...

I am happy to here read this post. Thanks.