Milestone

StorkThe moment I have been waiting for is about to arrive. In a few weeks (mid-April) I will be able to hold my first book, Passage of the Stork: Delivering the Soul, in my hands. This afternoon, I finished the final read-through of the layout. As I reread my own words, I started growing excited and proud. I’m looking forward to sharing this book with the world.

What an amazing process this has been! From the moment my writing mentor, Jo Parfitt, said, “If you write it, I will publish it,” to the present moment has been an adventure of discovery and learning. During my training as a counselor, I had to write a short (six pages) autobiography, describing the events and moments that had shaped my life. I realized then what an important tool an autobiography can be for understanding one’s own life and the choices one has made. But, being a storyteller at heart, I also recognized the potential for turning this short exercise into a tale that could inspire others. Jo’s encouragement was exactly what I needed.

However, sitting down and actually writing was quite a challenge. I needed to spin a tale that is worth reading, I needed to find a way of sharing the insights I have gained without sounding pompous, and I desperately wanted to describe, not only the facts, but the interior journey as well.

The feedback from my publisher and editor offered the next learning opportunity. Each round of suggestions and criticism tended to evoke a childish, They just don’t understand what I’m saying! from me. I had to force myself to sit down and think through why, exactly, I was being misunderstood and how I could change the text so they (and the reader) would get my point.

The support of a group of friends, whom I referred to as my sounding-board group, was indispensable. When I got discouraged, they would offer their love and understanding. When I started doubting myself, they would give me their opinions and advice. More than anyone else, they pulled me through the entire operation.

In the next stage, I needed to go out and ask people to write endorsements and a foreword. My shyness emerged; how can I ask busy people whom I admire to read my manuscript and write something nice about it? The response was heartwarming.

Just when I thought I had gotten through the most difficult part of the process, we started working with the designer. I needed to make decisions on cover illustrations and colors, format and font. I entered into a tailspin of indecision. Everyone I turned to for advice had a different opinion and I realized how easily I’m swayed by others. I think I drove the designer, Leigh Cann, crazy. But she was too professional and polite to let on. And, finally, a cover design emerged that felt just right.

Another round of proof-reading taught me that there is always one more mistake to find. Even the final read-through this afternoon uncovered a small mistake.

Shortly after Easter, my book will be a physical object that I can hold in my hands and leaf through. With pride and satisfaction. And deep gratitude to those who have been patient with me and supportive of my efforts. Writing a book is an educational – but deeply rewarding – experience. Thank you!

6 Comments:

  1. Mary Lou Gillette

    Dear Maddi,
    It has been such a pleasure to get to know you. Your reminders to take time for oneself and to quietly reflect have inspired me to spend a precious half-hour a day to do just that. I have always felt that no matter what I was doing, there was always something more pressing that I should be doing. The “shoulds” were exhausting me. Aging is slowing me down physically, and that is helping me to see things differently and , in many ways , better; but your example of taking time to reflect quietly has helped me to accept that.
    Congratulations to you, and I look forward to purchasing your book when it is available.
    Fondly, Malou

  2. Madeleine Lenagh

    Thank you, Malou! I wish you many days of taking time to reflect and just “be”.

  3. My heart pounds and my eyes fill with tears at the pride and excitement I feel for you Maddi. You’ve written a beautiful book, one which will inspire others to take their own internal journey toward self actualization. I am so honored to be your friend.

  4. Madeleine Lenagh

    You are a wonderful friend, Melissa. Part of the ‘sounding-board group’ I refer to in this article. And thank you for the lovely endorsement you wrote, which will be on the back cover and inside front pages of the book when it appears.

  5. A book is words between two covers, which find voice when we open the covers and turn the pages. Usually, when we close the book’s covers, the words are silenced. But some books are made of words that won’t be silenced, words that give shape to thoughts and ideas that we take away with us. Your book will be one of those whose words will be heard long after the covers are closed. Your enthralling tale will continue to accompany us, especially when we come face to face with attitudes that we’ve tried to ignore or be indifferent to. It’s not easy to ask uncomfortable questions and it takes great courage to seek the answers, but by sharing your experience you have shown us how ultimately satisfying it can be.

  6. Madeleine Lenagh

    Thank you for your beautiful words, Sabine!

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