Gratification is an interesting feeling because it is so associated with hard work or some quality that an individual feels is intrinsic.

When I got married to Cate, I was fabulously happy, but it wasn’t really gratifying. I hadn’t really worked for it. The same with the births of my children. I was happy. I was relieved that they were healthy. But gratified wasn’t the right word.

Well, I found out, just yesterday, that I am going to have a novel published. That may be the most gratifying thing I have experienced.

I became really serious about fiction writing when I was 20 years old in college. I am 33 now and by the time this novel is fully published, I will be 34. I have written two complete novels. I have a story cycle which is somewhat novelish 80 percent done. There are various other short stories sitting unpublished on my hard drive (yes, a few have been published here and there). The novel that will be published, I think it is reasonable to say, is my fourth book. It’s just the first that more than a handful of people will read.

You may want details. Here they are: it is a baseball novel, but it isn’t really about baseball. It’s about family and priorities and obligation. It is about a player who has to decide whether or not to play in the wake of his father’s death. It is going to be first published in 11 monthly installments, starting in January. In November, at the end of that run, it will be published as a book.

I can’t explain how gratifying this is. I am going to keep trying, but I will fail.

I have, for the past thirteen years, been writing. I have written a lot. I have written mostly for myself, but also with the hope that it would one day find a larger audience. I started this blog to help with that. I currently write for five different websites. All of it has been done with the idea that it might lead to finding a place for my fiction which, aggravatingly, becomes unpublishable when I put it on my blog. So I have written everything else I can write, and finally, there have been results and someone is publishing my novel and for the next year, I will be working on a project not just for myself and not just with some nebulous hope that it might eventually come to something, but with full knowledge that there are deadlines and that people will be reading it and that, in my various bios, I can now add the word novelist.