Smells Like Victory

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Okay, that’s not quite accurate. I’ve never smelled napalm, at any time of day. But if Robert Duvall is to be believed in Apocolypse Now, it smells like gasoline (which I’ve smelled many times before) and it smells like victory (which I may be smelling for the very first time).

In all honesty, my favorite smell is the still breeze of summer nights. The warm (but cooling) and damp (but drying) air lingers like a soft cool sheet over a sleeping newborn baby.

Each inhale breathes in a breath of reminiscence; each exhale releases a memory into the future.

This week, I signed a book deal and After 3PM will soon be on bookshelves at Barnes & Noble stores all across the country. Over the years, the naysayers (and there have been many) mocked my ambition to become a published author. But after relentless submissions, I’ve finally signed a book deal.

Smells like — Victory.

What I have accomplished is proof that perseverance and relentlessness can pay off. What I’ve accomplished is proof that pressing forward into the shouting faces of mockery, disdain, and hatred only makes the smell of victory that much sweeter.

However, I do not say these things boastfully to the faces of my many critics. Instead, I say these things to those who struggle with the uphill battle of accomplishing their own dreams. Because that’s what this is for me: I have accomplished my dream; I have written a book, and it is being published.

As I take these deep summer evening breaths, full of context and confidence, my exhale makes its way across the lips forming a triumphant smile across my face. It’s been five years since the first words of my book were written.

Five years ago, it felt like a pipe dream.

But on this mild summer night, it “smells like — Victory!”