Still Holding On to the Dream

Renee & Sherri - Copy

It was a life changing moment for me when I realized that this was it, this is what I wanted. I wanted people to be lined up around the block, waiting for me to sign their book, my best seller, just like I was doing for Terry McMillan that afternoon in Chicago.

That day–decades ago–I stood in fellowship with a group of women whose singular gospel was how amazed we were  at Terry’s ability to break through the hierarchial publishing world and make Waiting to Exhale a must-read for black women around the world…or at least in the United States. She had busted out of the norm, had thrown open the curtain to reveal the romantic goings on in the real world of sexy, successful, single black women and their lovers. She had written prose that you didn’t need to read a hundred times to understand the breathless dance that happened when a man and woman became one. Someone had finally written our story and we reveled in it!

I had been working on yet another version of a short story that got longer with every new city I moved to, as my then husband ascended up the corporate ladder. With everything changing around me, writing was the anchor that bridged new jobs, new relationships, and new hair stylists. I got caught up in the flurry of possibilities that Terry had opened for writers like me who worked to satisfy appetites that wanted to hear what we said, to read what we wrote and to buy what we sold. Years later, after 47 rejection letters from publishers and agents, I self published From Morning Drive to Midnight. It was loosely based on a woman’s rough and tumble days as a radio talk show host, when FM was overtaking AM on the dial, when DJs’ ratings were tied to their gimmicks and personalities, and when singers toured the stations to promote records and gave lavish promotion parties for radio people who truly believed that you only live once. Those were the days!

Oh, but I digress. My book signings netted about four or five people at a time.  Not bad, but not a dream made real, either.

The other night, I thought of my dream as I waited for Sherri Shepherd of The View to sign the book I had purchased. She was our hilarious host at the annual Ford African Ancestry Network event, which had invited Henry Louis Gates to talk about his new PBS show, Finding Your Roots. You may not be aware of it, but this event has a reputation for challenging its guests to a Wobble Dance-off, and Sherri was up for the challenge.  At the end of the program, she announced, “I’m going to sign some books, but I’ll be back!”

I waited a while before retreating to the book signing area, but no matter. The line was still wrapped around several ropes that kept everyone in single file. After she signed a book, she would take a picture. Up and down, up and down she moved for more than an hour. Even Terry McMillan had not done that!

When I got back to my table, everyone asked me, “Where is she? When is she coming out to Wobble?”

“She’ll be out,” I said, “But right now, girlfriend is living my dream!”

(Note to self: I’ve got work to do.)

Renee Prewitt is the author of a new children’s book, Taj Cleans the Garage and is working on a little something that will make her dream come true.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tanya R. Allen
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:11:59

    Renee, you are a great writer- keep dreaming!! One day there will be a line of people waiting to sign YOUR book!!


  2. David L. Watkins
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 06:58:11

    I think I’ll stand in your line.


  3. Debra DeBose
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 17:43:25

    I have a copies of your first and second books. Can’t wait to stand in line for the third one!


  4. reneepr2020
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 17:55:32

    Thank you, girlfriend. You are my best fan!


  5. Myrtle Boyer
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 19:40:48

    My grandson and I read, reread and collaborated on Taz Cleans the Garage. We decided that you are a hit in our book. Keep ’em coming.


  6. reneepr2020
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 19:46:50

    Thank you Myrtle. I’m so glad you and your grandson enjoyed the book! I’ll let you know when Malcolm Mows the Lawn comes out.


  7. Sherri Shepherd
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 22:54:13

    By the time I got to wobble… it was a small but mighty crowd. I ended up losing b/c Detroit has the wobble & all the other line dances on a lock-down! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you & look forward to receiving your book, and am excited to see the fruition of your dream coming true. God Bless You!


  8. reneepr2020
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 00:10:50

    Not only did she wobble, she did it in five inch heels with the biggest smile ever! We love you, Sherri. Come back anytime! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the snail mail will not disappoint and come through with a book just for you and Jeffrey! Let me know…


  9. Janet
    Mar 03, 2014 @ 15:01:31

    Hi Renee
    Keep it up. Hoped the Authors Round-a-bout at Source Booksellers moved the needle for you.


  10. Regine
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 20:10:49

    I will be there, Renee. And I cannot wait


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