I was in the middle of a creative muddle when my phone notified me I had a text message. My husband was all out of cold medicine and his cough was starting up. Could I please go to the pharmacy? I kicked into overdrive. I wanted to finish my project and I wanted to help my husband. Zip to the pharmacy. Rapid walk to the cold aisle – score. And then whoooosh -
to stand in line behind seven other people.
A good opportunity to just take a few deep breaths. And I did. One by one the clerk, the one clerk, helped folks. Finally, with just one person left in front of me, another clerk joined her peer.
Yay! I’m next. The person in front of me has finished her transaction and….she continues talking. And talking. And talking to both pharmacy clerks. They were quite engaged. And my internal clock ticked louder. Those deep breaths I had enjoyed earlier took a quick hike to the edge of the sea and went for a swim.
“What’s your hurry?” I asked myself. “Aren’t you the girl who says there’s a higher order to things and that you are right on time, always?” Yeh. That’s me. And since I admitted it I began to remember. Everybody has a story to tell. And some people have a need to tell their story to two pharmacy clerks. I could live with it.
And I did. The grace is remembering what’s important before acting as if I’d forgotten.
You can call a radio station and ask that a song be played, “dedicated to…” someone special. You can make a donation to an organization and dedicate that generosity to a particular person. Dedicating a book to someone is a lot like that.
In the midst of laboring over the content for LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU DO I considered all the people I know. I’m blessed to be connected to so many people who live their passion, who demonstrate every day what they believe by the actions they choose. I have one friend, who has chosen to truly BEGIN her life at a point when many people would have considered it to be “the end.” My friend was faced with a continual stream of dire medical assessments. She’s walked through cancers and hosts of other extraordinary health challenges and embraced a life that is truer, richer and more authentic than it’s ever been. So my newest book is dedicated to my friend, Donna Rose, whose life embodies the title.
This is what I wrote:
“For Donna Rose
My valiant friend. In your quiet turns and consistent efforts, you have demonstrated that life is what you choose to make it, not what a prognosis says it is.”
If you were committing an act of creation or generosity today, with your life, who would it be dedicated to?
People often ask me if receiving a brand new book I’ve written is like having a baby. Comparing creating anything to a mom giving birth is a little too much. While the actual birth experience only exists for me in my imagination I’ve walked with many friends through the journey of pregnancy and birth. I see birth as an utterly miraculous-unlike-anything-else event.
To answer in the metaphor, however, I can say, “Yes.” But the moment of “birth” isn’t when the book is printed and published. It’s that moment, after months of writing, and re-writing and editing, removing and adding and editing some more, it’s that ONE MOMENT when I sit back and sigh. That moment of certain knowing that I am done with the manuscript. I can call this my best effort and put it in the hands of the publisher. That’s the moment of birth of a book.
To continue the metaphor – the day I receive the book, ready to go on shelves and in the hands of readers all over the world, is the Bar Mitzvah, La Quinceaneraor a debutante’s ball. The work has been impacted and molded by many others after it has left my hands. What comes back to me is no longer singularly my own work, but rather the collaborative effort of many. Hillary Clinton often says that it takes a village to raise a child. This is true of a book: it takes a village to create one.
Mac Anderson, founder of SimpleTruths.com, gave me the opportunity to reflect on my core values found in my poem LIVE WITH INTENTION. And he asked me to season the work with the quotes that have made me the person I am through my life. What a great opportunity to roll around in my favorite words – partnered with beautiful and engaging photographs and elegant typography. You’ll see what I mean if you acquire a copy of LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU DO. And I hope you will let me know what you think. Today is the coming out party.
The irony of the artistic moment was not lost on me.
I was laying out a design based on the word IMPERFECTION. I ran out of space in the design field and had to wrap the last four letters in a round curve bending down toward the bottom of the page.
Perfectly imperfect. I laughed right out loud wondering if there could be a more apt visual demonstration of imperfection. So many things are like that in my life. Apparent contradictions that fold together into a manageable, meaningful whole that makes sense on most days. And on the days that it doesn’t make as much sense, I embrace the perfect imperfection of it.