Yikes – I’m launching a book

Just three days until November 30, 2017, my official Book Launch Party. It’s been planned since October 30, the day the book became available on Amazon, and until today it seemed soooo far away. Not so now…

Thankfully, my inner worker-bees have been waking me up two or three times a week with all sorts of ideas about what I should say, what to read and how to “be me” at the event. It’s funny to think about having to plan how to be me – seems there’s very little else I can do. Still – a mind like mine likes to make sure all angles are examined before I forget every last one of those angles and enter into what is most always an improvisation in the moment as it happens.

That said – I’ve prepared an outline (which changes as the dreamscapes do each night) and I’ve chosen several passages to read. I’ve rehearsed in the mirror what I might say as I offer a toast. (For years I’ve indulged in talking out loud to my image in my bathroom mirror, or in the rearview mirror of the car, when I need to work out a problem or plan a strategy. It’s amazingly comforting, and although I rarely remember what I say, it seems to help me get my thoughts together. In addition…I enjoy making faces at myself!)

These impromptu mirror engagements have helped to get the wheels turning about exactly (although, I know there is no exactly since all things change as each nanosecond passes by) what my journey has been and continues to be about. For today, and I think this will still be what’s up on Thursday, I’m thinking to focus on how the journey over time, and the journey of writing and publishing the book, has been largely about re-membering my body and in so doing, embracing it’s amazing wisdom. It’s not that I forgot my body, because I was very much involved with the physical functioning aspects of my body from early on. The physical challenges of making my way on one leg were a source of fun, and a kind of creative outlet. I enjoyed finding ways to do things that would appear difficult or even impossible for someone missing a leg. And, although I tried hard to deny and dismiss my emotional body, I never was able to fully forget it. I just relegated it to a deep, dark place inside and decided, repeatedly, to ignore it. Thankfully, the powers that be – God, the universe, other co-pilots, like dogs or paint brushes – continually poked me along the way, reminding me that there was something I’d yet to consider in my quest for wholeness. The pokes came disguised as panic attacks, friendly advice, offers of adventures that bore unexpected insights, dreams and other things too numerous to mention and too compelling to ignore for long. They encouraged me to continue plodding, skipping or just walking until I discovered dancing – which is what I realized I was doing all along, just like we all are.

After all – life is a dance and that dance is the art, and the wisdom, and the message of each and every one of our bodies. To live is to dance! Ha – now isn’t that fun?

Feeling Stuff

“We receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Marcel Proust

“We should not think of our past as definitely settled, for we are not a stone or a tree,” wrote poet Czeslaw Milosz. “My past changes every minute according to the meaning given it now, in this moment.”

This is a page I wrote in November 2009, while in the early stages of writing what is now Joy Ride: My One-Legged Journey to Self-Acceptance. I added the quotes today.

I’m relatively new to writing, never, before last spring, having considered writing a whole thing, like a book or even an article, that might be published and read by other people. There are too many books in the world right now–everyone’s writing a book–everyone’s especially writing a book about his or her life–so who cares? Yes, I have a story to tell and it is somewhat different from most others–still I protested until I took the first class last winter/spring, then joined a writing group in the summer and took another class this fall. I’m hooked and struggling.
My main focus has been a memoir–begun with ‘ten minute memory’ blurbs written in 2006. This year I’ve written ten or more five-page essays–different scenes from my life from 1951-1980. Most have gotten rave reviews as compelling snippets of a life my fellow writers say they’d like to hear more about. All good, and reason enough to keep going.
This last month, out of the blue, I’m feeling blue–like the reality of the past is expressing itself in the present. It’s something about showing my then self to my now self–in the way I write the scenes, and what I show about me and the people who were close to me. It’s something about really seeing how I struggled with different things–the terror and shame–and my courage, resilience and strengths, which I’ve yet to really embrace. And maybe because of that, the hardest thing is seeing the joy of childhood reduced to a kind of happy to be alive and coping. This damped down good enough feeling persists today, which may be the real reason for the blues.
The blues are the real reason to celebrate and keep on writing. Feeling stuff, even the hard stuff, is the joy–especially to this girl, who spent so many years not feeling stuff. Now’s the time to let go of any pre-existing notions of what, when, why or how and let what’s brewing take shape–see it as it really was. It’s a time to listen–maybe go back to ‘ten minute memories’–and sit still, with the clear intention of continuing to write the story. It’s time to tell people (if they ask) how it’s going–slowly, a bump in the road–some sadness and struggle. All good–just not so easy.

It’s a new day…

…and I’m a published author! My first book is Joy Ride a memoir of my decades long journey to self-acceptance. That journey seems pale now as I ask myself what’s next? Why did I write the book and where will the next chapter lead me?

The months from completing the manuscript to publishing have been a whirl wind of re-reads, tweaks, nit corrections (my beloved editor, Eva’s, word for those text bugs that show up in the oddest places), arranging the launch party and thinking about marketing – something that scares me some and just plain rattles my insides more. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d write and publish a book. I never kept a journal or diary and, honestly, never even read that much. I have enjoyed books (Autobiography of a Face and With or Without You are a couple of memorable ones) along the way – mostly in spurts of reading with long spurts of not reading in between.

Getting back to what feels like the marketing monster, I’d like to go with my usual pattern of thinking: what ever happens with the roll-out of the book is what is meant to happen. But then, I realize that if I don’t purposefully tell people about the book, no one will know it exists – especially these days with so many books being published every day. Which means the newest leg of the journey is getting comfortable enough with my accomplishment to let the universe know, and taking responsibility for doing my very human, grass-roots part to make that happen. It’s about launch parties, readings and announcements for sure. And it’s also about hearing and believing what my readers tell me and owning my deep desire to share my inner and outer adventures with others in hopes that we all might continue to create our own lives as Thomas Merton says in the quote below.

I’ll close this post with two quotes that have recently popped out at me. Till the next time…

“It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.” Thomas Merton

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Desmond Tutu