No one showed up at my first official bookstore book signing. Actually three people did: the editor I worked for at the newspaper, a woman who thought she might like to get the book for her daughter and the bookstore owner.
I had spent the weekend preparing a presentation that explained how I ended up having a book to present at all, and the only person who got to hear it was my husband.
“I’m sorry mom,” hugged Little Sprout.
“That’s really sad,” moped Middle Sprout, and the guys in the house didn’t know what they should say.
“It’s really okay guys,” I comforted them. “It just wasn’t a good day for a book signing.”
And it wasn’t. The sun had come out for the first time in what felt like months, and even I had a hard time coming in from the vitamin D bath.
I still shared as much of myself, and the book, as I could, without the formality of a large group.
I sold six books. Three to the two attendees and three that may sit on the bookstore shelf for years and years.
It is okay. I’m not just saying that to convince myself. I really do believe it. My intention for the book was to record how I have, and still do, invest in the healing of the relationships in my house, and I offer it to anyone who might want to do the same.
I am coming to grips with the fact that I will never be able to force this on people…cajole them to buy it…demand them to buy into it. It is there for the taking and I will simply continue to offer.
It is thinking like The Giving Tree, I suppose. The sacrificial tree that ends up as a stump at the end, but who offered any kind of love the boy needed. It was always there, waiting for the boy to ask. I have always loved that book.
For much of my life I identified more with the boy than I did with the tree, but I understand the profound presence of that tree.
Rooted in fertile and loving ground, we all have something grand to offer those around us. Sometimes the offering is shade, sometimes it is a tire swing to enjoy, sometimes it is the materials we need to build something new.
When I got back to the cabin, from my book signing, I spent the next hour picking up strewn branches from the latest wind storm. Our cabin yard is full of the biggest, oldest, strongest trees. There are some dead branches there though, and a whole bunch of them found their way to the ground.
It got me thinking about the offerings of strong, healthy trees, and that even they have some dead branches along the way.
I wrote a post a few weeks back about Books and Knives. It was actually titled Knives and Books, but I am having a shift in thinking, and I really wish I had put books first. The post was about selling my recent book, and how much I hate that part of being an author. I am starting to think about this book, Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage , as an offering of love, rather than as a product to consume.
It was a commenter on that post, a conversation with a respected author and friend of mine, and a current book I am reading that started my heart toward transformation.
The blog commenter has become an incredibly important part of my definition of my life as a writer…and as a person. I have never met him, and I am just now starting to read his stuff, but I am compelled to be changed by him.
I read his posts the minute I see he has written something and I am profoundly changed after every one. The title of his blog is PrivilegeofParenting, and if you are in the business of self-growth, deep thinking and contemplation, I strongly encourage you to check him out.
My award-winning author friend, and amazing woman, Karen Pavlicin, challenged me to define my goals as a writer. When I think about what it is I want to offer the world, I keep coming back to love. I want my day to reflect as many offerings as I can make, and one aspect of that comes in my writing.
I am a writer. Deciding what I want my life to look like has shaped the way I want writing to work in my life.
The book that has had an impact on this evolving self-definition was recommended by a counselor who read my book. He must have read between the lines some other healing I have yet to do.
So I have started reading Healing the Shame that Binds You, by John Bradshaw, and I am loosening my grip on hyper-achievement. I have spent my life trying to be the best, and I have some lifelong habits to break. My efforts with my own book have revealed some of those needed changes.
So this post is dedicated to readers and writers alike who want the inside scoop about the writing life…well, at least my writing life.