Afterglow. Recovery time to absorb the moment of truth. The moment we push that magic button that says “Publish” for the world to see. Our hearts and minds filling the pages of this memoir or novel or other genre type book, now on public display for approval or critique. Many of us hoping for applause, many fearing rejection, and some too busy with yet another story wanting to be told to take much notice of either. No big name publishing house to pat us on the back and assure us our words are more than dust in the wind. Job well done. Today my moment. Tomorrow someone else’s.
Self-publishing takes courage with a sprinkle of crazy. A little bit like playing chicken with an oncoming semi-truck on an open stretch of desert highway with plenty of room to swerve. A stare down with one’s own ego—who will blink first? Risk-takers welcome. Broken hearts welcome. Smart and savvy, worn and weary, the young, the old, all welcome. We who dare to cross the finish line because we have a story to tell—no other reason needed—welcome.
I light the candle. Music in the background. I push the button. I cry aloud. Giving birth to myself. Insides on the outside now. I raise my cup of tea—a toast to us all. My cat curls up by my side. He knows me well. His purr rumbles into my beating heart and I run my fingers through his silky coat, a sunbeam warming our cold bones. We could stay like this forever.
A symphony of songbirds gather in the Aspen outside the window and my furry friend is gone. The phone rings. I hesitate to answer but I do and then I wish I hadn’t. A dear friend has died. A tragic end for a tortured soul. Peace for her at last. The phone rings again. I listen to the voice of regret and guilt and confusion as reality plummets in, no parachute for landing. Splash. I toss a life preserver into the water but the voice floats away. The doorbell chimes. How will I vote? Have I found Jesus? Thoughtfully, and I didn’t know he was lost. In fact, I think he was just here a moment ago. Did you scare him off by talking politics again?
The old man across the street walks beside his perfect lawn of emerald grass and violet sage. Admiring their garden, he picks a royal blue penstemon for his wife, a bell of petals falling from his rugged hand back to the earth. I see the trashcans in a line along the road and realize I’ve forgotten it’s Wednesday, so I run to gather garbage and make it to the street in time. My computer dings. I’ve got mail. Twenty-three emails all at once. How do they all know to press “send” at the exact same time? Is it a universal law? Like going to the grocery store—we hear “the calling” and scramble to arrive simultaneously.
My son phones from work. He is upset and I can say nothing right. He hangs up. My tea tastes sour. I pour a fresh cup and take a sip as I lean against the kitchen sink, watching the plastic leaves move up and down, swinging the ladybug from side to side. Hypnotized by this solar powered toy, I stand before the window, empty, awaiting photons to rev me up too. Put the clothes in the dryer, I hear a voice whisper softly in my head. Yes, I’ll do that. And answer emails, and check my Twitter, and tweet a friend.
The quiet stills me. What is for dinner? I have a family. They need to eat. The front door opens. My grandson’s home from school. His life is hectic. A teenager in love. Autumn crackles as the door closes behind him. It’s more than I can see with my eyes, this changeling season.
Back to my laptop, I write a letter to thank the people who’ve urged me onward. I write another to the group of writers who have inspired my writing more than they’ll ever know. I write this piece for my blog because I want to remember the way this day ticked by so slowly and yet so fast. Quick post it to my website, grab my swim bag and rush my family into the car. They had their own days. We all have stories, though today some have ended. Rest in trusting new beginnings.
Off to the hot springs to soak in living, absorb this moment then let it go, and take time for dreaming in the Afterglow.
© Jennifer Sweete, October 2016
What’s next? Look for my future blog post – “Memoir Writing – Crawling Out Of Yesteryear”
Need help editing your written work? I edit with you! Yes, with you!
How effective is your marketing strategy? Ask me about my Author Assist program to help you market your book(s).
Books I have enjoyed reading this season:
Binge reading Murder Mystery novelist Margaret Coel’s books this season. Not a fan of murder mysteries but Coel’s writing intrigues and inspires me. Her style is simple yet elegant, descriptive enough to transport me to a place or see a person’s face, without overdoing. Her focus is on the Arapahoe in Wyoming and a Jesuit Priest. I’m fascinated by her historical research and have enjoyed watching her writing style blossom from book to book as she’s honed her craft.
Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!
Jennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 2nd term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband, grandson, and furry friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.