Hello, everyone. It’s been so long the WordPress interface has become user-friendly in my absence. They still won’t let you easily form emdash, however, so there is still room to grow for us both.
I could blame the pandemic for my absence (and I wouldn’t be 100% wrong in doing so), but the truth is:
I was away writing a book.
8.5 years ago, as I wept and wrote my blog about losing my 2-year-old Alice, my four-year-old Grace walked in and handed me that rock in the foreground. “This is a good rock and it will help you and help Alice too!” An hour later, she walked in and asked, “Sooooooo, how’s that rock treating you?”
Grace has always made me laugh through my tears.
That rock sat with me through every blog post, article, and speech I’ve written since then. It also helped me turn that blog (and other writings) into a book during the pandemic. And now that “good rock” will help me find a home for the book. I just know it. I was going to wait to tell ya’ll until I land a book deal, but that will likely take some time and my consigliere says I need to start to celebrate my little wins…like completing a manuscript. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to blow past wins large and small, but today, healing looks like acknowledging I completed a goal.
In the weeks after I finished the book, I found myself unusually and profoundly griefy. I found myself having crazy dreams, including many dreams of Alice. I found myself not knowing if I was asleep in my dreams and having trouble waking in the morning. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. My BF pointed out that some grief may have been suspended during my writing process. Now that it is complete, some of those little, hidden, grief pockets found release. This was as good a theory as any, so I went with that. I didn’t fight the grief, because I’ve learned it is futile. But I was awestruck by how many tears were still burbling inside me.
As I prepared to query agents, I also found I was second-guessing myself, something I’d never, ever, done during the writing. I even had trouble naming the book. The second-guessing added panic to the grief. Those of you who have followed this blog know I didn’t WANT to write this blog, this book. I felt COMPELLED to write. So, I did. I never questioned the urge…until I was finished? How annoying.
No one knew I was experiencing this except my friend Tommy, my editor Teresa, and my BF. Once I finally selected a name while talking with my BF (based on a brilliant note from Teresa), he surprised me with a mock-up cover. I bawled like an eeny, weeny baby. I have always been blessed with the finest squad a girl could have.
During this griefy, second-guessy time, I groggily awakened to a call from my cousin Tonja. We don’t often speak on the phone, but she is fighting multiple cancers, so I immediately answered.
“Are you sitting down? Because I’m about to tell you some crazy shit,” she exclaimed.
(Tonja and I bond over many things, not the least of which is our potty-mouths.)
I assured her I was reclined. She told me her friend went to a medium. During her session, the medium said, “There is a little girl here named Alice. She doesn’t know why she is here and she is looking for her Mommy. Does this mean anything to you?”
Now, I have never met Tonja’s friend IRL, though we are connected on social media. Neither Tonja nor her friend knew I was extra griefy, or that I had just finished a book. She knew who Alice was, however, and was mighty freaked out. She was afraid to tell me what happened; she didn’t know if it would upset me. So, she called Tonja.
Now, Tonja isn’t afraid of shit, so of course she called. She said the medium wanted to talk to me and that he did not accept money for his work. Which was good, because otherwise, this would have seemed like an elaborate, evil scam.
Within a day, I was talking to “The Stoned Medium.” He was far more grounded than his moniker or mission would suggest. He told me not to say anything; he wanted a “pure read.” I sat back, shut up, and listened to this man I didn’t know from Adam.
He told me Alice indicated to him I’d completed a “creative project.” That she was smiling and proud of me. That she’d come back to tell me it was important to my mental health to do it. That it was going to help many, many people. That she was excited for me. That she felt no pain now or when she died. “I just went to sleep and woke up here.” That it was extremely important I share the project.
Um. Wow. OK. 10-4 little Alice.
And then I got my ass to work querying agents because “the other side” went to great trouble to tell me releasing this book was critical to me “getting to the other side” of grief and panic. I’ve learned to listen to the nudges I don’t understand.
Endless thanks to my editors, beta-readers, family, and friends who supported me through this process. Special thanks to Beth Figuls for editing my blog. Big thanks to Teresa Strasser who took me by the hand, guided, and counseled me as I took 800 pages () of random Word/Scrivener pages and turned them into a cohesive 291 page manuscript. I would not be functional without the enormous amount of support I’ve received from all of you through the years. I will never forget your kindness. You are all my “good rock.”