So I’m working on my current book-in-progress, ‘Round America with a Duck, and I realize there’s something familiar about it. The pull, pull, pull of the full moon. The world beyond my driveway. The “what if?” wafting in the wind.
And I remember back to a time my wings felt clipped and yet I refused to cage myself. I found a way forward that ignited my senses and engaged my curiosity by redefining what it meant to wander while still being a mom of young children on the bottom of a hill in suburbia.
That book is called Bucket List and I still love it all these years later — in fact, maybe now more than ever.
With no time or money to Eat Pray Love her way around the world or go on a Wild walk, one mom found a way to live her Bucket List (and still be home in time for the school bus). Go month-by-month with her on a funny, fast-paced and fairly philosophical journey that might have you dusting off your own bucket list as well.
“First time I was actually glad my cable was out, gave me an opportunity to read this GREAT book, and I was not disappointed. What an awesome read”
I’m releasing it chapter-by-chapter weekly on Wattpad as a precursor of what’s to come (although the format and content for Round America with a Duck will be completely different). You can also get the entire quick-read book right now FREE with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon! (Traveling at the Speed of Bike, written 10 years after Bucket List, is another quick-read book you may find inspiring for the new year.)
One: Taking My Life in My Hands
Ripe. The time is ripe. There is a full moon and a million stars and my mother and I are driving through my dark neighborhood, on our way to the Snellville, Georgia Target shopping center where we will meet Bob the Pilot and his crew, and the other passenger, a woman celebrating her birthday.
“If there was ever a time for you to be 100 percent truthful about your weight, it’s now,” I tell my mother a few days earlier when we have to email our weights to Bob the Pilot.
“In clothes?” my mother asks.
“Yes, the jeans and sneakers.”
We have to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, for the who-knows-where landings.
“That’s the adventure part!” Bob the Pilot wrote enthusiastically.
The crash landings, Chip had warned. The landings in a field of snakes, I had made the mistake of commenting to my mother.
“That’s it,” she says. “I’m not going.”
“Oh, come on,” I goad. “It’ll be fun. And don’t forget to sign the release. Make sure you initial the clause about the crouch-and-hold-on requirement during landing.”
Stop. I’m telling you too much, too soon, like in Love Story when you find out in the very first scene that Jenny eventually dies.
Let’s be frank here. It wasn’t the fact that doctors were calling me “mom,” which is certainly not my name to them, as in “so what’s wrong today, Mom?” when I would bring my children in for sick appointments. It wasn’t the increasing incidence of drivers not stopping for me in crosswalks and my growing realization that maybe I was starting to become invisible, although perhaps I was imagining this. It was a simple little incident on a very regular night, perhaps not unlike a night in your suburban home, that served as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back (although the camel wouldn’t happen for years yet, unbeknownst to me at that time).
“So, what’s your dinner story?” my older daughter asked me, after she and her sister had shared the excitement and joy of their day.
Blank. I was totally blank. After 11 years of suburban life (and still wondering how I ended up in a neighborhood where I had to get approval of the color before painting my shutters), I was suddenly, finally, completely speechless. Me, the native New Yorker who couldn’t go to the corner deli and back without three stories. Blank. Totally blank. And starting to reach the aching realization that I was becoming a mere shadow of who I had imagined myself to one day be. My favorite book was ‘Round Ireland with a Fridge, about a guy who makes a bet in a bar that he could travel the periphery of Ireland with, well, a refrigerator, and proceeded to have a truly hilarious and unexpected life-affirming journey. Truth be told, I longed for some sort of journey myself, some sort of adventure, but how? How would I do this while still packing lunches each morning and putting dinner on the table each night?
And that’s about when it happened. When I found the long-lost list full of things I long-ago wanted to do in life.
And this is what happened next.
(I’ll link to Wattpad below as each chapter is published weekly*)
Table of Contents
Three: You Have to Watch Your Tension
Four: Does the Right Hand Know what the Left Hand Is Doing?
Five: Milk’s Leap Toward Immortality
Six: Unjustly Imprisoned
Seven: Words, Words, Words. I’m So Sick of Words
Eight: Wholly Ordered to Contemplation
Nine: Big Money Tonight
Ten: Only in America
Eleven: You’ll Never Find an Old, Bold Mushroom Hunter
Twelve: Lucky for You, There’s TiVo, Baby
Thirteen: You Get the Hoe-matic
Fourteen: Requiem for Methuselah