Thursday, September 3, 2009

Guest Blogger: Lynn Coulter

The firemen are coming tomorrow. That's why we're hunched over the kitchen table on a school night, trying to wrestle a raw egg into a nest of bubble wrap and tape. My son, who's nine, adds some newspaper around his egg, named "Bob," for extra protection.

And protection is the name of this game. Every year, each kid in my son's fourth-grade class is supposed to pad an egg so it won't shatter when dropped from a height of thirty feet. I can’t say it’s a tradition everywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line, but it is here in our little Southern town.

For more excitement---and what egg-based activity doesn't beg for bling? - - a local fireman is coming to help. The entire elementary school will turn out to see him climb onto the roof and drop one egg after another to the sidewalk below. To win, an egg has to survive the fall.

The kids are actually doing a science project on velocity, but as a freelance writer, I can't resist looking for a life lesson in this experiment. To me, the whole exercise feels a lot like writing. A writer spends her imagination and energy hurling her best ideas out into space every day: the space of other people's opinions.

Her fragile ego (which is only one letter of the alphabet away from the word "egg," if you think about it) goes along for the ride. Will an editor accept my proposal? Will a publisher offer a contract? Every time I send out new work, I'm flinging my hopes and dreams into the unknown, praying they won't end up shattered.

When Egg Drop day finally arrives, my son thinks Bob looks good. The only other egg to beat is Sexy Beast, a competitor named for a catch phrase in the popular "Austin Powers" movies starring Mike Myers.

We all stand on the ground watching, hardly daring to breath, as the fireman tosses each child’s padded, boxed, or packaged egg from the school roof. The crowd groans as parachutes fail, balloons burst, and beach balls explode. So far, it's omelets, all the way.

Sexy Beast makes a successful descent. Isn't that always the case? Those kinds of writers score, too, with plum assignments and fat checks.

ood old, ordinary Bob is up next. If Bob makes it, I tell myself, so can I. My writing isn't exotic, just grounded in the ordinary stuff of life. But if Bob survives, maybe I will, too. Maybe my work won't end up splattered on the sidewalks of the publishing world, instead of rising to the top like a glorious soufflé for hungry readers.

Maybe I need to stop seeing myself as an egg and find a therapist.

Bob is launched. He lands.
We peel away his packing. He's cracked, but unbroken. No yellow streak of yolk betrays his ordeal.

I take it as a sign for writers everywhere.
May the good eggs always win.

Lynn Coulter is the author of Mustard Seeds: Thoughts on the Nature of God and Faith, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and Gardening with Heirloom Seeds, praised by Publishers Weekly as “a welcome addition to every gardener’s bookshelf.” She is also a journalist whose work has appeared in Delta Air Lines’ Sky, Family Circle, Southern Living, Progressive Farmer, Toyota Connections, AAA Travel, the Atlanta newspapers, and many other publications.
Coulter’s debut book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds: Tried-and-True Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables for a New Generation (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), describes fifty treasured heirloom species and is filled with growing tips and practical advice from gardeners. It includes 130 color photos and beautiful artwork reproduced from antique seed catalogs.
Her most recent book, Mustard Seeds: Thoughts on the Nature of God and Faith, was released by B&H Books in September 2008. Its fifteen personal essays chronicle the daily markers of God’s love and care that emerged during a long period of hardship.
Coulter graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Journalism from Georgia State University and has received an individual artist grant in literature from the Georgia Council for the Arts. She lives with her husband and son near Atlanta, where she is at work on her third title, Little Mercies (B&H Books).

Please visit Lynn’s websites at and . Her books are available wherever books are sold, or online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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