Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Back in the Saddle - Again!

Hello again, I'm getting the manuscript cleaned up and packaged and ready to go out into the world! Please pray for the full fruition of this work which I truly feel I am being called to share. Blessings to you too. Steph

Sunday, 7 February 2010

dead line/ life line

Ok. So I've actually made a verbal commitment to my friends and my spiritual director: I will really, truly, actually send the manuscript off to the local publisher who expressed an interest. Really. By Valentine's Day. That's 8 days away! How can I possibly pull it together by then? Well the truth is, it is together. No more pulling is required. Tweaking, yes. Ruminating, for sure. Waking-up-at-3-am-cause-I-thought-of-a-better-way-to-word-something: check. But the pulling together of the thing has pretty much been finished for quite a few months.

I have had opportunities to submit my work to a number of interested parties over the past couple of years, but ~something~ always prevents me. I'm actually feeling a bit nauseous just sitting here considering the fact that I may actually do this. To be sure, the suspense of what a real honest-to-goodness publisher thinks of my book is killing me! I'm DYING to get some critical feedback from someone in the business. And clearly I can't put off my friends forever... Last night I had my 5 close friends over and they threatened to tie me to my bed and send the thing out on my behalf! And the frightening thing is, they could have done it! There are no passwords or anything else preventing them (or anyone) from getting at my book. Hmm... I suspect this may be the catalyst to my sudden change of heart vis-a-vis the submission: the prospect that someone other than me could take matters into their own hands is terrifying to me. Which is probably a very good thing. In any case, it looks like I no longer have the luxury of sitting on this piece of work, this thing that takes up so much space in my head, much longer. "The time has come", the Walrus said, "To talk of many things"...* And those 'many things', for me, are all of those hundreds (thousands?) of written words demanding to be spoken, nearing mutiny!

What is it they say about the pain of remaining in the bud? I love that quote and it's screaming itself at me now. Hang on while I look it up. ---

Ah yes, here it is:

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anais Nin

I'll admit then, to myself and to you, that I am extremely uncomfortable here in my tight little bud and I suspect I've stayed tucked in here way longer than is wise, much longer than Nature intended. I long to push out, to struggle and thrash against my green cocoons and finally see the light of day. But to blossom, what then? There is no returning to the bud, no way out, no way back. There is only forward and that is something I cannot see. I never could get that old quote about being caught between 'a rock and a hard place'. I'm getting it now. I guess the only thing left to do (and quite likely the only thing to do,) is the thing I have known all along: that simple, insistent, still, small thing. How did I miss it? It's too easy, too simple, too obvious. Pray about it, they said. "Yeah, yeah. But what else? How will I know when it's time to let it go? How will I know where to send it, who to trust with it, how to do it?" Again, the chorus came from all around: pray about it. "I know! I know! That's what I'm all about!" I'd reply. Of course I pray about it! I do it all the time. But there has to be more to it than that! "WHAT", I would ask and keep asking, "AM I MISSING?"

I trust you see where this is going, and I'm eager to put the next part into words if I can. But, as a dear friend of mine says, life is calling and I must go take care of the supper dishes and put the laundry in the dryer. Even in the midst of these life-altering epiphanies, we all need to stop and make sure we have clean underwear and socks for tomorrow.

And while I take care of these house-y duties, I will indeed heartfully "pray about it" and I'll ask God, point blank, what I am to do next. And then, (gulp), as you are my witness, I'll endeavour to actually DO IT. Even if it means sending the manuscript, say, tonight. Stay tuned.

* The Walrus and The Carpenter, Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

14 years ago today...

...I left for India and began a journey that would change and challenge and stick to me like so much crazy glue. Fourteen years! For about the first ten, I could scarcely bear to think about it, much less talk about it. And yet, that's just what others wanted me to do: talk about it. I just could not get my mind around what I saw, how I felt, none of it. But more and more, people were hungry to know about my trip, about Mother Teresa, about the poverty. These were people I knew, didn't know, friends of friends of friends who contacted me, longing to hear the stories from that special time I was able to spend with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Why, I often mused, was it SO hard for me to talk about it? Well mercifully there was a shift around the ten year mark, and I started to write. And write. And write. For months I couldn't shut it off! It all just kept coming. And it seems the interest is just as great now as in the earlier days. So I keep at it, polishing and editing and piecing it all together into some kind of legible, hopefully touching and enjoyable book. And so it continues, both day and night.

p.s. Happy Birthday, to my long time friend Susan!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Nod from publisher spurs me on!

On Sunday I attended the Ottawa Author's Book Sale put on by "Ottawa Independent Writers". In the course of telling the owner of Baico Publishing Consultants about my book and my ideas, he invited me to submit. And mercifully, he said he doesn't bother with query letters, proposals, and all the conventional 'junk'. I can just go ahead and send him the manuscript and he will read it in its entirety! He's a spiritual fellow and says if I believe God is prompting me to write this, then I'd better follow through! Wow. So I'm getting my MS ready to send off! :) We shall see!


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Congratulations to Caroline Pignat, winner of the GG's Literary Award for 2009!

Well! I just heard that my friend and writing mentor, Caroline Pignat, has been awarded the Governer General's Literary Award for 2009! How fantastic! It's for her wonderful book, Greener Grass.

Caroline Pignat's Greener Grass: The Famine Years follows the disintegration of the Byrne family during Ireland’s Great Famine of 1847, when landlords ruled without mercy, children could be taken away to prison, and thousands were left to starve. A timeless story of courage, family loyalty and the resilience of the human spirit.

I'm so happy for her. And man, does this ever serve to spur me on to keep pushing forward towards publication of my own book!


Monday, 16 November 2009

long time no blog!


Well I checked in to my blog only to realize that it has been almost a year since I've posted anything! What's up with that? Time flies - at the speed of light sometimes.

Anyway, this morning I wrote what I believe will be the concluding chapter of the book! I really thought I was done, but I was praying about it, and I felt there was a wee bit more to say. Well, 22 pages came hurtling (is that a word?) out of me and now it actually feels like I've FINISHED writing. I've been wondering for a long time, how does one know when it's time to end a book? When it's time to just put down the pen, close the notebook and call it a year? (or 4 years, in this case.) It's no easy feat; this baby has become 'mine' through and through, and I suspect I'm having a bit of separation anxiety. And yet, what's the point of writing a book if no one is ever to read it except the author? Especially when one feels that perhaps it is God Himself who is prompting the writing of this book. If that's the case, then it becomes, as an honest friend recently said to me, a selfish thing. The keeping of it, I mean. I guess it's the old thing of not keeping one's light under a bushel... or in this case, one's manuscript buried at the back of the filing cabinet for "safe-keeping". Or for lack of faith in the merit of the thing. Or for fear of it's not being well received. Or, because said author might not have any other books in her, so better hang onto this one, forever polishing, editing, and "working on it". Or. Or. Or.

Enough! In the words of that wise old baboon Rafiki (from the Lion King):

Thanks for reading this far! Please do check back - I promise not to neglect this blog and to try to make it interesting, compelling and above all, hopefully, to report the play-by-play, up-to-the-minute, lead-up to publication. God Willing.


Monday, 1 December 2008

Delicious... and Terrifying

Hello again!

Well I think I've finally decided that the bulk of the actual writing of the book is DONE. The next leg of this odyssey seems to be the preparation of the manuscript for editing. I will readily admit that I have resisted this part for many months now, though not exactly sure why. And in the end it doesn't actually matter 'why'. I just need to be about the business of doing the tasks and taking the steps that will keep (or get) things moving.

About a month ago, my dear soul-friend Margie suggested I come over once a week and read the numerous handwritten chapters aloud while she types. Something in me just leaped with joy when she offered this gift. She who knows too well the paralyzing effect that 'shifting gears' can have on me. I get going at a good clip once I get in a groove, but with the writing groove drawn to a close, I was at a loss. So I think Margie just mercifully said 'enough. Let's get this thing done'. So for the last 4 Thursday mornings, we have been getting this thing done. Each time I'm driving out to the farm where she lives with her family just south of Ottawa, I get this overwhelming urge to turn the car around and take off in the other direction. I don't. And that's beyond me. I just get my body there, doing my best to quiet my mind and trembling heart. I feel it now, as I write. To borrow a fantastic phrase, coined by Margie, it's deliciously terrifying! Delicious - in its unknowns, its possibilities, and the enormous energy and courage it calls forth on so many levels. And Terrifying - for all of the same reasons.

I went to a wonderful book launch yesterday for the new book, Remembering Mother Teresa, by local author (and friend) JoAnne Christie. It's a collection of 58 different peoples' accounts of having met or been somehow touched by Mother Teresa. It's a compelling book, and it brought me tears, smiles and blessings as I devoured it at home last night. So many different people, stories, circumstances, timeframes. But it seems they were left with that same flavour and impression that so many have spoken about: that Mother Teresa was frail and small in stature and at the same time full of life, energy and holy presence. Again and again, the writers told how they felt they had Mother's undivided attention. That her loving, gentle eyes somehow imparted a peace that passed understanding. That her knowing smile wordlessly communicated her great love for each person. And that having had even the briefest of encounters with her, each one felt that they had been forever changed. I can relate. The stirring inside is palpable as I recall my chats with Mother - now almost 13 years later. I often have this eerie yet peaceful feeling that she is here, now... looking over my shoulder as I write. May I do her justice! :) Of course, she would be the first one to defer to Christ. Don't look so much to me, she might say. It is not I who lives, but He who lives in me. I am, she once said, but a pencil in His Holy hand. So here I sit, day after day, praying to be a little keyboard, utterly controlled by the Master's Hands.

Peace. And Happy Advent!