Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's a Long Way to THE CALL.



It's a long way. You know?

She was four. Alone. And crying about the twisted sheets in her nightmares.

She was fifteen. Alone. And raging because she could never keep the bruises away from her mother's legs or the storm from the inside of her house.

She was twenty-one. Married. Still alone. She was hiding because she wanted something lost to be found. And sometimes when you are desperate to be seen you are truely terrified for eyes to look upon you.

She was thirty. Still Married. Still alone. And shaking because now she had two babies who needed to be close to her in ways she couldn't even be close to herself. Children who needed a mother when she herself needed mothering.

She was thirty-one. Everything fell apart.
The carefully arranged house of cards. What she didn't know was when that house of cards fell her life was not being destroyed, it was being rebuilt. She found writing and wild words and she longed to let them loose. To give them legs and wings and all manner of roaring and beastly freedoms. She also found a God who had never left her after all. 

She was thirty-three. And now she had written a first book, numerous short pieces, poetry and of course this blog. She found an audience of poets and authors and friends. And those who were hurting just like she had been. They found her those people with bruises on their heart walls. And they read her words. To this girl's wondrous surprise her words were helping. Healing. She thought she was giving something, when really she was recieving from those who hugged her close and said, "You write the words that are locked inside me."
Yes, she thought. I understand, because these words were locked inside me once too.

She was thirty-four. Thirty-five. Thirty-eight. By forty she had written book number two with book number three well on the way. This is it. This will be the year. This one. She was still writing. And wanting. Dreaming that her words might find their place with someone who believed in them. Someone who could refine them and help her birth a book. And hopefully a career.
Write a book. Write it again. Again. Again... and again. Write a query letter. Send it out to agents. Wait. Hope. Wait. She washed those words, dried them, folded them carefully, arranged them. A wonderful agent offered editorial feedback and the chance to resubmit. She threw those words back in the wash again.

There were now three little boys (the eldest not so little anymore) and she daily learnt that it was okay to be herself, okay to love deep and wide and all at once or in tiny, precious drops. It was okay for that love to be a messy, dripping thing that was often hard to give but impossible to hold onto.
There was a man who been by her side for over half of her life and still decided daily that he wanted to stay. You know who you are Matthew Bird!

The book was queried to eight-five agents. Eighty. FIVE. She was blessed with twenty-one literary agents who requested either the full manuscript or the first three chapters. There was one revise and resubmit from an agent who was very generous with her time, three referrals from published authors to their own agents on her behalf and a long-suffering critique partner, the infamous Wen Baragrey.
Then, right before she turned forty-one...something happened.

All the wanting. All the dreaming. All the writing. And re-writing. And re-writing. All the times she was alone. All the times she prayed and cried out. All the times she nearly gave up on her belief that there was indeed a plan. It all came together.

A literary agent read her book...and loved it. Her words had found a home. The wonderful Nicole Payne of Golden Wheat Literary offered to represent this girl and her wild words. 

And do you know what that girl did?
She cried. And then... she smiled like a goofy, happy thing. A smile so large it said everything she could ever find words for.

Her smile said, "Sometimes, it's a long way. You know?"

~

I am offically represented by Nicole Payne at Golden Wheat Literary in the USA. We now prepare my work to go on submission to publishing houses!


*Thank you to all those who believed in me and my writing. Matt Bird. My boys, Isaiah, Cyrus and Darius. My Nannie. My uncle, Jay. To Esther, and you know all the reasons why.  My family. My mother. My wonderful critique partner, Wen Baragrey.  My friends Jac, Kerryn, Arwyn. My home church. And there are others. Many others. I thank you all.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Beautiful and Necessary Books Project




Many of you know that I am an avid reader. Seriously. In terms of needs, after breathing and food it's books. As both a reader and writer I'm often asked, "So, what are you reading?" And because I'm reading multiple books (so many books, so little time) I always have an answer. If your at my house you might also get a tour of my bookshelf and whatever book I'm currently obsessed with (and lots of my old favourites) may be enthusiastically shoved into your hands.

As I follow many writers on social media, I'm often aware of what books are coming out and the unique 'story' behind the story as the author shares their own publication journey. I wanted to share with you all some of the books that have most touched my soul. The ones that reached right inside and would not let go of me. Welcome to my Beautiful and Necessary Books project.

First up: THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN by Stephanie Knipper.


About the Book:
Genre: Adult Literary Fiction, magical realism.

This is a beautiful and necessary book about family, our differences and our unique strengths. Two sisters who must come together later in life and learn to be family again. The older sister, Rose, is dying and desperately needs a guardian for her ten-year-old autistic daughter, Antoinette Martin. This child has a strange and beautiful ability. She can heal things and people. But the healing doesn't last. Not even when she tries to heal her mother. But when the sisters come together to form a new family they also discover that if they can protect Antoinette from outsiders who want to abuser her unique skills, there might be a way for Antoinette to heal her mother, Rose.


Why I loved it:

I'm a huge sucker for sister stories. Especially those where the sisters find each other again and come together to fight for new relationships and each other. I'm also deeply affected by books that included diverse characters who might be viewed as 'broken' by society. Add in some magic (I love me some magic) and I am obsessed.

After reading I was filled with the magnitude of understanding that each of us are a miracle in our own right. Each of us bring to this world what no one else can, what no one before us has. This book gave me hope that no matter my disabilities, I bring many abilities to this world. And so do we all. No matter our challenges or our past, we are never as broken as we think. And sometimes what others might see as brokenness is the exact place in our life where our light can shine through the cracks and inspire others.

If you love anything by Sarah Addison Allen or other magical realism books, this one is for you!
Go buy HERE. Go read!
I thoroughly recommend.

What about you? What are you reading?


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Want.



Want.
A big, audacious word hiding inside four small letters.
W.A.N.T.
Oh, the ache and pain. I can hear my younger self. She wants something and she hasn't told a soul. She is seven and she takes her little sister out to this straggly garden beside their house. Inside the house a storm is brewing. They see it, they know it. The beast of their parents marriage that is tearing them all apart. So that little girl escapes. Not to a garden. No. This is more than a garden.

This is where she tells her stories. She crouches down among the shadows and the overgrown ferns. The sisters are so near they can feel the other breathing. And the little girl speaks. Not words. No. These are more than words.

These are other worlds. Places where creatures smaller than your fingers run amok at the base of the tree and in among the flowers. She feeds these guests on paper bark stew mixed with mud and fern fronds. Her little sister mixes the brew and they set a table made of chip bark on top of rock and smaller stones for seats. The guests come as the little girl talks. Her sister can see them. And oh, the adventures the sisters have all the while living in the land of stories. She knows what she wants this child. Not merely dreams. No. These are more than dreams.

This is who she is. Who she knows she was born to be. Children know this. Clearly, like the ring of a bell through time. They know with clarity who they are. Maybe not what they will do upon this earth, but they know their essential being, the who that they were created to be.
She is sixteen now. She hasn't forgotten. She still tells stories. Quiet words to the wind as the car drives along and she wishes she was anywhere but where she is. She talks in story and the breeze t spreads her words out into the void. Her mother has one question. What does she want to do? But it's not a question about wanting. No. This is more about college.

She tells no one what she wants because it's been made clear enough. Her mother doesn't read. It's a waste of time. Books. Wasteful. Not serious pursuits. What she needs is escape and a way to stand on her own two feet against this world. It's what her mother wishes she had. Where is the degree in story? She isn't even looking for it. It never occurs to either of them that story is exactly the way to escape and the only way this child will ever stand on her own feet. But this is not about standing. No. This is about surviving. Pressing on. Moving forward.

So, she forgets. On purpose. She forgets who she is. She is thirty-one before she wants again. Thirty. One! And that wanting comes on the back of everything finally falling apart. Everything she has fought so hard to hold together inside her collapses. In the darkness of that falling there is this small light. Flickering. It is the WANT. This is who she is. In desperation she reaches out for the want. For the stories.

Let me whisper them to you, my friends. Your want are the most essential raw part of you.
These are not merely dreams. No. These are more than dreams.
They are who you are. Who you were created to be.
Please. Oh please, begin to want again. The world is waiting for you to be you. We need your wants so desperately. We need the essential you.