It was a dream. Maybe deep down I’ve always wanted to share my truths with others? What does “sharing one’s truth” even mean? It sounds kind of hippy dippy. But that phrase has spiritual undertones to me.
I thought at one point about going to divinity school and getting ordained. I’m drawn to the spiritual, but not necessarily the religious. My form of prayer is meditation, writing, or even sculpting.
It’s in those moments I experience those elusive “aha” moments, when a wisp of a thought or revelation permeates my overactive brain. Those prayer moments occur when it’s quiet and I’m focused on something other than the dishwasher or cleaning up dog vomit. It’s in those moments I access something bigger than myself. I’m grateful for those moments of inspiration.
Many of these moments informed a book I wrote. Be Brave. Lose the Beige! Finding Your Sass After Sixty has just been published by She Writes Press and comprises years of blog posts I’ve written. Topics range from Empty Nest Syndrome, Boomerang Kids, Retired Husband Syndrome, the Glories of Grandparenting, and increasingly about caregiving and aging issues.
The giant comma provided by the pandemic gave me just enough of a pause to actually sit down to compile my book. Sequestering in place, I had no excuse but to execute a dream I’d had for many years. But let me tell you, it was hard.
Years ago, I considered pursuing an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts). When my daughter received her MFA seven years ago, I guess maybe that gave me a pass. One in the family was enough. So, I chose the book path instead. I lived through my children’s book project and dissertation and watched as their advisors threw draft after draft back into their laps.
I felt somewhat like that as my publisher and editor relentlessly returned drafts dominated by red track changes. My shoulders would sag as I faced hours of re-writes. I came to understand that writing is really re-writing.
The fun of writing that first draft dissipates as the editor’s aggressive red pen critiques those alliterations and pithy asides you thought were so clever. But I’m grateful. I heard it said that a good editor is worth their weight in gold. I am happy to say my editor falls in that category.
The culminating event was my book bash. A wonderful indie bookstore in Winter Park hosted my launch at Quantum Leap Winery in Orlando. I crafted an E-vite billing the event as a book launch and birthday bash since my 70th birthday is imminent. The book launch was exactly how I wanted to commemorate my milestone birthday.
I discouraged my children from attending, as I wanted to be able to focus on each moment of my celebration – without distractions. And I did. I was told at least 80 people attended; 100 books were sold that night. I was anxious about speaking in front of a crowd of people I respect and admire.
I have looked up to many of the women who were present in the audience (yes the crowd was largely comprised of women the age of my book’s target audience). Now they were literally looking up at me as I stood before them, microphone in hand.
I looked out on to a crowd bedecked in turquoise, magenta, chartreuse, and tangerine as my guests mirrored the title of my book. I’ll probably never speak in front of such a loving and supportive crowd again, as these people I love so much laughed at my lame jokes and beamed their love at me with their heart laser guns.
My friend Ann FaceTimed with my precious daughter so she could share in my moment. I was so humbled and honored. As long as I have a memory, I will be grateful for that moment.
Is there something you have always dreamed of doing? If so, what is that dream and how can you fulfill it?