A Religion of One’s Own

IMG_9798The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant, twenty-five years ago this winter, was get in my car and drive to Harvard Square to buy a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I am a book person, a life-long reader.  And so my first response to anything new or challenging in my life has always been the same: go find a book on the subject.

For a few years, as I became a mother to first one son and then another, I read my way through an entire shelf of parenting titles.  I read books about every age and every stage, about attachment and achievement, discipline and diet.

But the book that finally set me on my own path, both as a mother and as a person, wasn’t a parenting book at all.  It was a book called The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life by a writer named Thomas Moore.

Most of us have a handful of books we consider seminal, books that make such profound, deep, and lasting impressions that we remember, even years later, exactly where we were and how we felt as the words landed in our hearts.

I was in a lawn chair at my parents’ house in Florida, savoring quiet. [continue…]

Pub date! (Music, photos & books to win)

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Today is the official paperback release of Magical Journey.

Paperback publications of quiet, mid-list memoirs don’t generally get reviews or ad budgets or press releases or parties.

But I’m pretty excited about today anyway. The fact Magical Journey even made it into a paperback edition is incredibly gratifying.  It means this close-to-my-heart book will find its way to many more readers in the months to come.  (Thanks to some energetic advance footwork by the terrific Magical Journey Team, this is already happening!)  Reason enough to celebrate, right?

So, this morning I thought, Why not mark pub date with an intimate on-line party right here, in the space where we meet each week to converse, connect, and share stories of our lives?

First, some music. . .

Exactly two years ago this week, I was holed up in my mom’s guest room, writing five or six hours a day.  To stay sane, I took long walks.  One afternoon, while listening to a Pandora station through my earbuds, I found myself stopped in my tracks on the sidewalk, tears streaming down my cheeks. [continue…]

The Journey continues — in paperback (and I want you on my team)!

Magical Journey_TPB Cover

Exactly one year ago today, Magical Journey, was published. I remember taking many deep breaths, trying (mostly in vain) to quell the butterflies in my stomach.

Watching my memoir arrive in bookstores across the land, waiting for the first readers to find it, wondering if my midlife “coming-of-age” story would resonate with anyone else, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to celebrate the birth of my new book or hide under the bedclothes and wait for it all to blow over.

What a difference a year makes!

Thanks to YOU, my dear readers — and to the heartfelt, eloquent, profoundly moving letters and comments you’ve written me over the past twelve months — I feel nothing but excitement and joy this week, as I await the first paperback copies of Magical Journey. (Official pub. date: January 21.)

These days, making the leap from hardcover original to paperback is not a given, as it once was.  It requires sturdy hardcover sales, a track record, and a commitment from both author and publisher.

So, I’m not taking this moment for granted.  In fact, I want to do all I can to fulfill my publisher’s faith in me, and to prove right their hope that this quiet little book of mine will now find its way in paperback.

Magical Journey owes its (admittedly) modest success in hardcover to you, and to good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

I didn’t go on Oprah or Good Morning America.  I didn’t get reviewed in the New York Times (though receiving a rave in People was quite a thrill).  There was no ad budget.  But I went to lots bookstores – and I loved meeting you there.  I answered every letter I received from every reader.  And I kept on writing to you all here each week.

I heard from many of you that you’d not only read my book, but you’d also bought copies for others.  You shared it with your friends.  You gave it as a gift.  You suggested it to your book group.  (Some of you even sent photos of your book groups!) You took a leap and said to someone else, “Here’s a book that speaks to me. I think you’ll like it, too.” [continue…]

Gracie, 8/20/00 – 11/18/13

IMG_0154Everyone we know who’s ever loved and lost a dog told us the same thing: that she would let us know when it was time to say good-bye. And of course, she did.

Yesterday morning we let Gracie go, with sad hearts but also certain that it was her day to leave us.

Since she was diagnosed with cancer just a month ago, on Oct. 17, Gracie rose to the challenge of treatment just the way she did everything else in her life: willingly, without fuss or fanfare, and with complete trust in her humans to do what was best for her. We took a big swing at it, with three rounds of chemo, and were amazed and thrilled as she gained back weight and strength and her zest for life.

A week ago, she was like her old self — up at dawn, taking long morning walks, playing in the leaves, chasing balls and sticks. (Steve took this photo  last weekend, as Gracie eagerly did her part during fall clean-up at my parents’ house.)

There were no bad days. These past few weeks have been about massages and Reiki and hand-feeding, lots of special, home-cooked food, visits with all her friends, treats and walks and togetherness. We had the great gift of getting her back for a little while, knowing as well that things could turn at any moment. When they did, we took our cues from her. [continue…]

Change

GraceI’ve been paying close attention to the weather lately.  Over the last few days, frost has claimed the last of the nasturtiums outside the kitchen door.  The maple tree, as of yesterday, is bare, save for two golden leaves stubbornly clinging.

“The leaves fell so much earlier than usual this year,” I’ve been saying to my husband, as if we’ve been deprived of something; an extra week of gazing at them perhaps.  “It’s gotten colder sooner.”  He doesn’t believe me, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.

And then it occurs to me:  I have a record.

It was just a year ago that two young filmmakers from Boston drove up to our house in New Hampshire to shoot the book trailer for Magical Journey.  I was watching the weather pretty closely that week, too, worried it would be freezing by the time we finally had a shot list together and that late October would prove too stark and wintry to allow for the kind of carefree outdoor moments I’d been envisioning.

I haven’t watched the video myself for a year, not since the day I okayed the final cut and sent it off to my publisher to post on YouTube, with fingers crossed that it might inspire a few book sales.  Perhaps some movie stars get used to seeing themselves on film or hearing the sound of their own recorded voices, but I doubt I ever will.  It’s easier not to look. [continue…]