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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Being at home


My son is housebound as he recovers from knee surgery and he's going stir crazy. Poor kid. At least the pain is manageable. He'll be in that leg brace for a while, and doing physical therapy to get the leg strong again. He's been working from the couch, solving issues by phone. And now it turns out that he has been offered a promotion for when he goes back into the office, because he's a bit of a workaholic, that kid, and they rely on him. His girlfriend also works hard, putting in long hours as personal trainer. They're so diligent and responsible. She is trained in theater though. She loves that world. Meanwhile my son wants to save lives. He said to me yesterday, "Stress is working hard at something you don't love. Fulfillment is working hard at something you do love." I worry a little about these young people working so hard at jobs that are not their dream, leaving them no time to pursue their heart's desire. Still, change can be set in motion on any given day. We who love them have to trust they will find their true path.

I have one more chapter to write to complete a first draft of the memoir of an extraordinary 97-year-old African-American doctor, and I cannot seem to write the first word of it. Instead I have been going through all her papers, piece by piece, and making adjustments in previous chapters. It feels overwhelming to put the final punctuation mark on the narrative of such a life. I have come to adore this woman, who hired me to write her life's story, and paid me enough so that I could focus on it with a whole heart. I am well ahead of my due date, so I will have time to go over the entire thing again, to refine and make it better. She wants to self-publish. Even if the book gets picked up by a mainstream publisher, she still wants to be her own publisher. She has no intention of waiting till 2017 to see a bound book and I'm thrilled she's so self-directed. We've determined I will oversee that part of the process as well, so if any of you out there have self-publishing experience, I'd love to hear your advice! (Brittany? Steve?)

Life scrolls on, one day to the next. My bones ache something fierce. I'm trying not to be nervous about how I will make a living once the book I'm working on is complete. I frequently get approached to ghostwrite or edit books, but for less money than it takes to live in this city. Much less if you want to know the truth. I'm grateful people want to hire me, but a book is an all-consuming undertaking, and I give my whole self to it once I say yes. So I really need to figure out how to charge properly for this, and to be okay if people say, sorry, that's more than I had in mind, even if there is not yet another job waiting in the wings. I have to trust I am on my true path.

On a related note, here is a pic from homecoming weekend at my daughter's school. She looks like she's having a blast. How is it related you ask? Well, I imagine finding or being on one's true path can feel a lot like coming home to yourself. I made that up, but I think it might be true.



26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Well, then! Thank you, sweet Mary Moon who is about to be a grandmother three times, and then four times over. If you say so, then it must be so. xo

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  2. This woman sounds amazing, and I love that she wants to self publish. I look forward to hearing about your experience with that.

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    1. ellen, i helped the founder of my daughter's wonderful grade school self publish a book once, but it was a while back, and the landscape has changed, and not necessarily for the better as far as I can tell, but I may find out I am wrong about that as I wade deeper into the process. love to you, friend.

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  3. I so look forward to reading this book, and I love what you've written here about home. If these young people are anything to go by, their radiance in the photos is testament to what coming home really means -- to yourself, as you said, and your passions realized.

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    1. Elizabeth, let's hope what I've written about the book isn't better than the book! Passions realized, a lovely thing.xo

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  4. Glad to hear that your son is healing well.

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    1. Lisa, he is! He even went to work on his ergonomic crutches this afternoon, though I wasn't on board with that. His leg brace looked like armor.

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  5. I am very familiar with brace armor but will check out the ergonomic crutches...Glad he is home and healing well. Women are still under represented in traditional publishing, so self-publishing is probably in your client's best interest. I have no doubt you will find the pay and project you want next. xx

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    1. e, he's tooling around on the ergonomic crutches which apparently are sprung and bounce somehow so that it's less hard on the hands and shoulders.

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  6. I know its shallow but i love the colour of the sofa

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    1. John, I do too! But unfortunately it's more boring brown in real life. The color in the photo isn't entirely true. But now we know the color we want for our next couch, right?

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  7. Passions realized... That gets my thoughts wandering! *ahem* Anyways!

    Glad to hear your son is doing well, I love that quote about stress and fulfillment.

    I don't have any self publishing knowledge or much advice on working through a sticky patch of writing other than don't be afraid to step away and give yourself some space to fall into a revelation. Maybe bask in the inspiration the woman gives you and swim around in it a bit, see what phrases swirl into your mind's eye. :) Congrats on your progress so far, glad she found you!

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    1. HBF, passions realized...lots of applications, for sure!

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  8. Angella, will we be able to read the book when you have finished writing it? The woman sounds fascinating and I would feel so honoured to read your words.

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    1. Birdie, yes you will be able to read the book, I will let you know where and how to find it once it's published. Thank you!

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    2. Yay! Looking forward to it!

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  9. I wish I could help with self-publishing advice. The only publisher I've ever used is Blurb, which primarily publishes photo books, and they print on demand and are thus quite expensive. I've never figured out how to publish something at a better market price, get an ISBN and make it available on Amazon, for example. (One of the things I keep telling myself I'm going to learn.)

    It seems likely to me that you're reluctant to write that last chapter because you're subconsciously anxious about this project coming to an end. Even with the revisions still to come, you're thinking ahead to next steps, and I can see how that would be kind of scary. (I have faith that with your skills and connections you'll be FINE, though!)

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    1. Steve, I think you a right on target with that insight about why I'm procrastinating writing the last chapter. I'm going to miss this project. It's been a particularly fine one, certainly one of my all time favorites. i choose to believe there will be more such projects in my future!

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  10. Your son is right, I think, about work and stress and fulfillment. If only we could all find fulfilling work instead of the other kind.

    I hope your pain levels have eased since you wrote this. Chronic pain is a hard thing to live with.

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    1. jenny-o, my pain levels are quite tolerable today; there often seems to be no rhyme or reason for why it flares sometimes. I think it is partly diet related, partly weather related, and partly emotionally provoked, all those things. we go on. thanks for being here! xo

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  11. Oh gosh. Well, I used CreateSpace and also "The Indie Author Guide" by April Hamilton. It had a lot of help with everything--formatting, ISBNs, all that. A friend of mine created the front cover image, which I sent to CreateSpace and they did the wraparound. I downloaded a free template from Createspace and cut and pasted my document into it. It was tricky to use and still not perfect. My knowledge of Word is so basic, I think I managed to make it look decent but it isn't flawless. It was hard and complicated. You can use a Createspace assigned ISBN or buy your own. If you buy your own, you have to pay attention to whether or not you're getting the kind that libraries can use. My book currently can't be circulated at libraries. The April Hamilton book explains all this. And you can buy Createspace services for all of this, if she has the budget for it. Good luck! Feel free to email me about it.

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    1. Thanks for this, Brittany. It's super helpful. I'm thinking of going with Create Space, too, although I also wonder about Balboa Press. I notice you were able to create your own imprint, Vesuvius House Publishing, which is awesome. I like that it doesn't scream Create Space anywhere. For all your concerns, Angel Food is beautifully done!

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  12. Your posts always resonate with me. I think you should indeed stick to your guns and charge what your time is worth. Otherwise you won't be able to go out and find the better jobs. I felt what you said about coming home to your true path. It feels like that to me with writing, even though I haven't earned anything with it yet. (I'm hoping to change that soon.) Good luck with the rest of the book. Your subject is lucky to have you, and it sounds like it works the other way, too.

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  13. Once the book is complete, I hope you post the title so I can order it! Wishing a speedy rovery to your son!!

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  14. Glad to hear your son is healing from surgery. He is so wise beyond his years. Gee I wonder where he gets that from, Mom? :)

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