Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Location: United States

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Top 5 Days of My Life

These are some days I’ll always remember, jumping-up-and-down happy days. I’ve listed them in chronological order.

17 September 1969: I hit a grand slam, playing “batball” on the playground at Hazelwood Elementary School. Batball has the same rules as baseball, only there’s no pitcher and you hit an inflated rubber ball with your fist. This was huge. In elementary school, I was the fat kid. I’m sure those of you who grew up, like me, in ancient times, remember the fat kid. Don’t you? These days, thanks to fast food and video games, about half the prepubescent population is overweight. Not so in 1969. Anyway, I was slow and not athletic at all, the last person to be picked for teams (right behind the skinny little redhead boy with glasses and arms like toothpicks). But, the day I hit the grand slam, I was a star. All the kids on my team were cheering. They loved me. For one breezy September afternoon in 4th grade, anyway.

10 November 1976: I got my driver’s license. This is a big event in any teenager’s life, but in mine it was momentous. I grew up with my grandparents, neither of whom drove a car. Getting my license was a whole new level of freedom. I could go places. I could play my 8-tracks loud as I wanted. I could make out with my girlfriend in the park. It was a grand adventure, being able to drive.

26 February 1983: Eric Clapton had a song out called “Rock and Roll Heart,” and he was coming to town for a concert. One of the local radio stations sponsored a contest to win a Fender Stratocaster, signed by the legendary guitarist himself. You had to write, in 25 words or less, why you have a rock and roll heart. I hadn’t planned on entering. On the morning of the deadline, the day of the concert (I already had tickets and was going with some friends), I lay in the bathtub and composed this: Cupid’s rock and roll dart, sounded, pounded, found my heart. The sound was Clapton’s claim to fame--heartbeat and rock beat, one and the same. I rushed to the music store where the entries were being collected, made it there just a few minutes before the 2:00PM deadline. Later that afternoon, drinking some pre-concert beers at my friend Dave’s house, the radio station called. Perhaps there’s still a tape, in a dusty archive room somewhere, of me shattering the DJ’s eardrums with howls of joy. I won the guitar, and I still have it twenty-four years later.

30 July 1992: My son was born. He is--and always will be--the best thing that ever happened to me. I witnessed his birth, and I had tears in my eyes. He’s 14 now, a fine young man, but it seems only yesterday I was rocking him to sleep. He still gives me a hug and says “I love you” before going to bed each night. It’s difficult to comprehend, before you are one, what it’s like to be a parent. There’s no way to describe that kind of love.

7 March 2007: I’ve already emailed a bunch of you regulars, so you know what’s coming. I fell asleep last Wednesday afternoon, and when I woke up there was a message on my phone. Area code 212. New York City. I played the message a couple of times, thinking I still might be dreaming. It was real, and my hands trembled as I called back. Mr. Jay Poynor, literary agent extraordinaire, put me on hold for a few seconds while he said goodbye to a client. When he clicked back on, he told me how much he loved my novel. He wanted to represent me, and a contract would soon be in the mail. I know I probably sounded like a moron. I don’t remember what I said, but I can’t imagine it was anything very intelligent. Electricity was flowing through my veins, and when I got off the phone I started doing the Snoopy dance (appropriate, since Jay used to work with Peanuts creator Charles Schultz). Dig: Jay was the first agent I queried, my top choice. He called me the same day he received the manuscript. A referral from my sweet angel was the catalyst, but this just doesn’t happen. Not in a writer’s wildest dreams. Can you even imagine my level of excitement? A week later, it still doesn’t seem real. I guess it is real, though, since I received the contract in the mail yesterday and mailed it back, signed, to New York today. I guess it is real. I have an agent. I have an agent!!! The Call. One of the top 5 days of my life. When I get a book deal, I’m afraid that grand slam in 4th grade will have to drop a notch.

Okay, hate to do it to you guys (not really), but I tag Erica, Lainey, Aaron, and Kathy. Let’s hear about your top 5 days. If you choose to play, tag four more of your contacts. Let’s party!



Blogger Kathy said...


Can't wait until you share the top 6th day of your life ;-) (And I have no doubt that day is coming soon!)

Break out the keg and hand over the Karoke mic. First I'd like to dedicate my first song, Celebration, to Jude.

Your voice, style, plotting, characterization, etc., the whole package, is brilliant.



9:49 AM  
Blogger lainey bancroft said...

Awe, Kathy got the mic first!
She makes a great point though: DON'T bump the baseball glory days! Plan the next 'Top' list as top 10! Top 20! The possibilities are endless!

WTG Jude, you've given us all reason to celebrate.

p.s watch for a hotmail from a Mc-crazy name ;-)
Lainey b's mail is all *(&^%$-up!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Wow. Thanks so much for the kind words, Kathy. I truly value your opinion. Great to hear that.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Marcus Sakey said...

Congratulations, Jude! Very happy for you, brother. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Hi Lainey:

Thanks! I did get that crazy McEmail. LOL! We'll have to all get together for real sometime and sing around the keg.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Marcus! And congrats on all the success you're having with The Blade Itself. Super debut!

10:50 AM  
Blogger PJ Parrish said...

Jude! Dude!

A big hug and congratulations to a survivor of the PJ Workshop. May this be just the start of a long and illustrious career.

6:38 PM  
Blogger PJ Parrish said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Congrats. The book is brilliant. You deserve it.


7:20 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Kris! Big hug back.

That chapter you guys critiqued made it into the final version, with just a few changes.

I won't be able to make to Sleuthfest this year, but I'm hoping to be there next year with a book to hawk. :)

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Erica! Your encouragement, generosity, editing help...priceless. I can't even express in words how grateful I am.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Jude, forgive me for being so late, but you know how thrilled I was for you when this happened! Woo Hoo!!! Been busy taking lots of gorgeous photos and finishing up my eleventh book. Now I'm in the same boat as you were - I'm looking for a new agent! Hey, you've definately inspired me to keep on truckin'. Will come back soon - I'm so damned proud of you!!!

3:02 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks so much, Aaron.

Eleventh book! Wow! That's something to be very proud of as well.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Top 5 Days of My Life...Jude, you've stumped me. When I consider the potential top five days, I choke, blank, mentally hiccup, and my brain brakes go on. I'm sure under the cover of brain fog, answers lurk. Perhaps I can attribute this thought void to too many overworked brain cells...maybe....

I've added developing A Top 5 Days list to my list of lists (talk about short-circuiting my thought processes, whew!).

Again, I'm so excited for you!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks again, Kathy.

As for those top five days? Well, you know, it's all good. I've been alive for 16,871 days, and every one of them was great in its own way. Every single nanosecond has led me to where I am right now.

Okay, now I expect everyone to do the math and send me something nice on my birthday. :)

8:32 PM  
Blogger lainey bancroft said...

'K, Jude. Mission accomplished...sorta :(

Ha, ditto what Kathy said! :0

And btw, don't watch the mail for a b-day card from me. I suck at math! :)

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Lainey!

I should have known better than to put a math problem on a site for writers. ;)

4:21 PM  

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