Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giving Thanks....

Nana's boy...Sweet Baby Colin (3 months)
September was one of those once in a lifetime sort of months.  Turning 50, getting ready to launch my book, seeing my book for the first time, preparing for the visit of our grandson, Sweet Colin (isn't he just downright gorgeous?), celebrating our 22 anniversary and planning a grand event to mark all these special occasions.

I'm not sure where to start. My gratitude swells. 

Most people told me that when I first laid eyes on my book, there would not be another moment like it.  I have to say, it was less a thrill and more a very quiet, very sweet, soft sort of warm pulled taffy.  (Laying eyes on Baby Colin was somewhat the same..but more on him later!)

Pride because it had been such a long and twisted path to get here. Pride because I somehow found a way to enter Mary's story and let it flow through me to the page. Pride because it wasn't just about publishing a book, but gathering wisdom from a remarkable life and growth from my own experiences writing the story. Pride for seeing it through to the end, when I really felt like running away. Pride because it did take me seven years...that I did not compromise and try to force the story before I was ready...and that I plodded on until it was done.

These may seem like silly things, but right from the beginning, I had to make sure my head was in the right place. I had to be sure that I wasn't writing the book to be a published author, or to gain recognition, and most certainly not for money (good thing!), but for the simple desire to share a remarkable story with a wider audience.

Because, you see, I believe that it is never about me. It always has to be about something or someone else. It always has to be about a bigger picture than what I can see or imagine. I've passed the place in my life where I am only concerned with my own gain. This no longer suits who I am...

And so the story also had to be about something much larger than a single life large as that life may have been.

So, when I picked up the box of books from the post office, I took it to a special spot overlooking the Bay of Fundy - the bay that held such magic for both Mary and me. There, my husband and I sat together and ate lunch...sneaking glances at the box, but leaving it until the time was right...allowing anticipation to build, like storm clouds piling high on the horizon. Then lunch finished, he handed me his knife and I cut through the packing tape.

When I first held the book in my hand, salt breeze on my face, marsh and bay at my back, I thought about the beautiful cover shot and the day I took the picture. It was a day when I really grasped that there is far more to life than what lies on the surface. That there are underlying threads supporting our lives, weaving them together; into a pattern we cannot possibly understand or even envision.

Marys Point, NB

I thought about the people who contributed to the book, the friends who supported me, the publisher who believed in me, and the editors who raised it higher than I could have on my own. I thought about the people who would read the book now and in the future. And how, years from now, the book would still be out there, sharing Mary's legacy...passed around, perhaps purchased, maybe reprinted, shared, talked about. I wondered whether people would like it or not. Would some people mark the passages they liked? Would they read it more than once? How Mary would feel, reading her life on the page?

Mary signing books in "The Bridge",
the sunroom where our interviews took place

I admit to undercurrents of worry and apprehension...that maybe I  had not done a good enough job. That I would publicly fall flat on my face.

Then the first person phoned me. Dear remarkable Joyce, a tiny octogenarian who rappels at Cape Enrage every year on her birthday. "I can't put it down," she told me. "When you describe Mary, I can see her sitting right there, clicking her feet together."  After Joyce's call, came an email, and a card, and more phone calls.  "I know it took you seven years to write it, but I read it in two days," someone wrote, apologetically.

I'm very thankful it didn't take her as long to read, as it took me to write.

Oh, how I appreciated all these people who took time to contact me. I can now enjoy the ride.

Then, in October, when I stood in front of a full house at the Harvey Community Hall, an historic structure restored by Mary, I told them this:   

"This is a book for anyone who has questioned the value of their own life...any man or woman who has looked within and thought, 'I know there is more to me than what I show'. 

"It is for anyone who has seen something they wanted to change, then walked away from it, doing nothing. 

"It is for anyone who has held a tiny creature in their hand and felt the transition as its struggles subsided and trust entered its bones. 

"And it is for anyone who has walked in nature and felt the pull and power of a force beyond their own understanding."

It is my hope that the people who read this book - whether they know of Mary or not - can gain just a small piece of the inspiration that the writing of it gave me.

That they will see some small possibility for their own lives on the pages.

Then, Mary's legacy truly pays it forward....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Needing a break....

Must apologize for my absence. The past two weeks have been spent getting to know my new grandson, writing speeches, launching a book, speaking in public, attending a party and a luncheon, conducting various media interviews, signing books...feeling a little overwhelmed with all the fanfare and attention.

How can I thank everyone for your touching words of encouragement and care? I'm left without words to write...they've all been considered, absorbed, spoken, spent, taken to heart...

I have much to say when my words return. For