I recently decided to slightly change the font color on the back cover of one of my paperbacks, “Baggage Claim.” Unfortunately, what should be a quick, simple task often turns into something much more time-consuming and difficult. The website messed up, and I ended up needing to redo the entire cover. Finally finished, I signed, sealed, and delivered the book and then ordered myself a copy that I needed to personally deliver. Two days later, my book arrived. The new font color looked great, along with everything else. Then I turned the book on its spine and read the words, “Booke One.”
I just started laughing. The typo was entirely my fault, and by this time, the only thing I can do about my frequent, ridiculous screw-ups is to laugh. You see, this is not something new. I am not one of those special people who seems to glide gracefully through life getting everything right. Instead, I manage to slip on every banana peel within about a ten foot radius of my path! Historically, I do have pretty ridiculous bad luck, but most of the stuff that happens to me is my own fault. I’ll admit it: I’m a klutz in just about every way.
Now I know some of you may not believe me, but here are just a few gems to prove my point. A couple of years ago, we lost my three-year-old’s camera within a couple weeks after he got it for his birthday. We searched the entire house and couldn't find it. Months later, we gave up and replaced the camera with a used one. About six months later, I found the camera. In my closet. Where I had put it after taking it away for misbehavior. Throughout that entire time, the memory never surfaced until my hand touched the camera. I still have bad mommy guilt for that one. That’s right. If you misbehave in my house, you lose your favorite toy for at least EIGHT MONTHS!
Unfortunately, my tendency to be both a mental and physical klutz didn’t start with adulthood. For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to march to the tune everyone else is following, and never seemed to succeed. When I was in college, I played the part of a “lovely” in a community play. My job was just to glide on stage in a pretty gown and announce the different acts with a placard. During one of the performances to a packed house, the spotlight cut off early as I descended the stage steps in the dark theater. It came on again… right as I tripped and fell in a not-so graceful heap. A sweet old man toddered over to help me up. With nothing hurt but my pride, I stood to my feet and curtsied to the audience.
As embarrassing as that was, it didn’t really compare to what happened once when I was in a pageant once. Yes, I competed in scholarship pageants as a way to help earn money for college, and maybe I was searching for a little of whatever pageant girls had that made them appear so perfect. In this particular pageant, I only discovered my faux pas after it was over. I was later told that I would have won the swimsuit competition if the tag of my swimsuit not been sticking out the back of my tankini bottoms! So yes, apparently I sashayed around the stage in front of an audience with my swimsuit tag flapping in the breeze! Worse, I was also told that the scores of the pageant had been so close, that I would have won the entire competition had my swimsuit not been flying its white flag of surrender!
And the list goes on. Yes, I am a screw-up. I’ll spare you more examples; just be assured that I have a lovely little replay of classic Amanda moments that conveniently replays through my mind at the most special times!
Looking on the bright side, the redeeming virtue of being me is that I am not boring. I laugh and I cry a lot, but life is interesting. I always wonder what other people are really like under the Facebook persona they present to the world. Are they really these amazing, accomplished super-people that have it all together? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that, underneath it all, most of you are screw-ups just like me!
In my case, I have managed to use my faults and experiences to create realistic characters in my books, or at least, characters that have faults like me. The character of Hannah in the “Yesterday” series has a lot of my insecurities and quirks that mirror my own maybe a little too closely. The entire idea for book “The Random Acts of Cupid” was based on one of my own screw-ups in high school. Every book I've written has some element of my own reality to it.
While my female heroines are smart and strong, they tend to be klutzy and have life happen to them. They aren't perfect. They have confidence issues, they fall on their face, they get angry, they make the wrong decisions, and yes, they slip on banana peels. Sometimes their experiences are worth a laugh, sometimes a cry, but they are always interesting.
So maybe I wouldn't want to be perfect, even if I could be. I’ll take every screw-up I have and, by God’s grace, allow Him to turn them into something good. After all, God would have never needed to come save the perfect. Maybe it is through our mistakes and imperfections that His beauty and glory can truly shine.
I’ll just tally this latest screw-up with all the others. Maybe they’ll make a reappearance in a “booke”
sometime, or maybe they’ll just serve as a reminder that everyone is flawed. Besides, who would even want to read about perfect characters? How boring! After all, now that I think about it, bookes ARE much better than books, wouldn't you agree?