Monday, March 13, 2006

It's Official...

I'm a published author. I went to the book-signing, the public reading, and the launch of Spinning Words into Gold: A Hands-On Guide to the Craft of Writing. It was a strange moment when I looked around a room of fifty to sixty people and realized that they were holding in their hands a text that housed my words. My reflections. My thoughts. My opinions and ideas now reside in the homes of dozens of people here in the Charlotte area.

Having raised your eyebrows, having gotten your hopes up, having prompted you to fetch your wallet and prepare to hit the link in order to purchase my book, I will now tell you the whole truth. The book mentioned earlier does exist. It was presented to the public for the first time yesterday at a local coffee house called Lava Java. It does contain a few of my rantings, but... the main author of the book is my writing mentor and teacher whose name is Maureen Ryan Griffin. She meticulously gathered the writings of a few famous writers, a handful of her favorite and most promising students (including me!) along with her best ideas, suggestions, and activites, and produced this treasury of gems related to the craft of writing. Quite frankly, I'm not exactly sure of the best way for non-local people to purchase the book, so I will suggest that you go to her website: I'm sure she will have information there on how to get your hands on it.

Anyway, she credits me with introducing her to the world of blogging and includes one of my blogs in its entirety in the book. The web address of this blog appears in the contributors' listing section at the back of the book, so I hope to get some more traffic here. Two other short pieces of my writing appear in the book. Although I will not earn any money from this venture, I am officially a published author.

Or am I? I'm not exactly sure what this means in the world of publishing. Ultimately, that doesn't matter; I don't live in the world of publishing. I live in the world of homeschooling mothers who journal and blog, and now my words will reach a wider audience. For that I am grateful. Enormously grateful.

Since I'm being honest about my accomplishment and accolades, allow me to tell you about a few other opportunities that have come my way to share my words with a wider audience than the one here on the blog. Next Wednesday, I will be speaking to a group of young mothers called, "Mocha Moms" about motherhood, marriage, and how to maintain one's personhood in the midst of mommyhood. I am excited about sharing a few laughs, a few tears, and a few suggestions on how to keep one's balance and sanity when life feels most unbalanced and insane. The first, last, and main point of my talk will be that the battle to stay upright on the river of life is a never-ending one.

The following week, I'll be giving a motivational talk to a group of social workers down in South Carolina. Interestingly enough, the talk will be entitled, "My Mother the Social Worker: A Survivor's Guide." Yes, my mother is a retired social worker, and I survived the ordeal. Although I will share a few highlights and lowlights from my childhood, the goal of the talk is to encourage them to stay true not only to their dream of helping other people, but also to stay true to their families and themselves in the process. I'm a little nervous about that talk because I'll be speaking to social workers! I am afraid that they will spend most of the time evaluating my sanity! Well, evaluating what's left of my sanity... Nonetheless, I am looking forward to encouraging them on their life journeys as well.

And in June, I will be the speaker at two women's retreats up in the NYC/CT area. Four sessions of 45 minutes in length based on the theme of travel. What does it mean to set out on this journey of life and faith as women? I will draw on Biblical accounts of the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt (don't we all feel like slaves sometimes, abused, underpaid, overworked, and all we want is a couple of days off?), the story of the prodigal son (wouldn't life be better if we didn't have to work so hard, if we could take the money, go party, and be on our own?), and point out a few parallels for our own lives. What do we pack for this journey? With whom do we travel? Who will share our burdens with us, listen to us tell the tales of the road, and what is the destination, the goal of all this trekking? (I'm beginning to think I'm obsessed with travel, literally and figuratively! Anybody else picking up on that recurring theme???)

Yes, I am up to my neck in writing and reading and praying and preparing for these sessions. But it is a blast for me. This is what I live for! I am convinced that the reason I have gone through all that I have gone through in my life - growing up as the only sister to three older brothers, the daughter of a bus driver and a social worker, surviving various traumas related to love, loss, life, death, friendships, neighborhood conflicts, emotional, marital, physical, spiritual, and relational upheaval, all of it - is to be able to sift through all the dross, discover the gold that life has buried within and all around me, and then share it with others. I can hardly go back and forth to the supermarket without finding something worthy of a journal entry or a teachable moment with the kids.

Oprah talks a lot about knowing what you were put on the earth to do. Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, talks about the same issue. What on earth are you here for? Me? I am here to share with you, my virtual friends, with my face-to-face friends, and in the coming weeks and months, with total strangers, some of what I am learning as I walk this pilgrim pathway. Nothing in the world gives me more joy than preparing for sharing. Nothing.

Anybody need a motivational speaker for your group of teachers, market analysts, doctors, lawyers, stay-at-home moms, or book club members? Call me!

It's official. I've been published.
Furthermore, I'm on the speakers' circuit.
And I couldn't be happier.


In Otter Space said...

Congrads on your publishing!

I am that increased traffic you mentioned in your post. I too was at Maureen's reading/signing. And am also a fellow student and blogger.

I don't know about you but I woke this morning feeling special. Special that Maureen chose my writing to be in her book. And yes I think it does count as being published. One we can reference when submitting our work.

See you!

Giovanna said...

Congratulations Gail! How exciting to be published. :)

It's been a long time since the last time. A lot has happened since then, and I hope we can be back in touch? I would love to go to the conference you're speaking at re: travel in june. could you tell me more about it?

thanks... and please... keep writing, it really is a blessing for so many.

Goddess of Leonie said...

Glorious Gail,

I cannot tell you just how HAPPY i am to hear this... your message is a beautiful, pure, human, love filled, conscious sharing of life...
and i deeply love that it is now getting shared with even more of the world.

you are such a marvel...