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Unsettling, brave, sometimes hilarious and sometimes scorching enough to wreck your heart, these essays, about love or the terrifying lack of it, don’t just smash the silence; they let the light in, bearing witness with grace, understanding and writing so gorgeous you’ll be memorizing lines.”—Caroline Leavitt, author of I“I will confess, right from the start: I called my mom the minute I finished this book and urged her to read it so we might share a language of grief and reconciliation.This is a rare collection that has the power to break silences and bring people together.
Each one of these intimate and gut-wrenching essays reaches beyond itself to forge connections with readers."—"While each essay is its own beast, containing its own wild, wonderful, woeful, willful or warring mother figure, the collection as a whole holds together precisely because there is something recognizable in each and every piece."—“These are the hardest stories in the world to tell, but they are told with absolute grace.
You will devour these beautifully written—and very important— tales of honesty, pain, and resilience.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “This collection of storytelling constellated around mothers and silence will break your heart and then gently give it back to you stitched together with what we carry in our bodies our whole lives.
Later on in the process, however, I decided to approach, and ultimately work with a publisher because I realized I wanted a partner. So I will start by asking you three questions: Before sprinting full-speed down this unfamiliar book path, I asked myself the above three questions because I knew I needed to manage my own expectations and be smart about a decision this huge.
I knew I wanted to make a book for my family, to honor and remember my parents and the lives we shared together.
But in almost every class I am asked how I became a writer, and after I make my usual joke about it being a benign neurosis, as my late friend George Higgins once told me, I usually talk about my dad. The New Testament in the King James version, for example. The finest writers in newspapers are often sports and police reporters. All writing can be improved by a judicious editor, except the King James Bible, and even there we could stand to lose some of the Old Book, I think.
My dad was a newspaperman, and still is, at age 92, a man of great grace and patience and dignity, and he taught me immensely valuable lessons. There are people who talk about writing and then there are people who sit down and type. Note how people get their voices and hearts and stories down on the page. (Don’t tell that to your mother.) Do not let writing be a special event; let it be a normal part of your day. We are all storytellers and story-attentive beings.
(I will revisit this later.)I had to figure out if my story really made sense as a book. Was a book the right medium to communicate the content I had?
Someone once told me that there are certain projects that may not make sense in a book form, no matter how beautiful or important they may be.
No one will care about your story as much as you do, and your passion and drive will amplify the work as long as you are willing, able and brave enough to share it. (Note-to-self: Choose one title and stick to it, as it will avoid some unnecessary confusion down the road). Looking back now, book in hand, I realize how naïve I was about how much work it would be, how much money it would cost, and how rewarding it would all be in the end.
I hope that by sharing my experience and the lessons I learned along the way, I will de-mystify the process a bit and save others from coming up against similar hurdles in the journey of producing a book.(It is important to note that many of my earlier steps were taken while I was planning to self-publish my book.