After nearly five years of working on this book, it was released into the world this week! I am equal parts proud and terrified and excited and exhausted and relieved and overjoyed. Basically, as per usual, I am feeling allll the feelings. All of them.
The idea for a memoir had been floating around in my brain for a long time. I know that I’ve lived an awful lot of life in my 38 years, and though many chapters of my story were brutally painful, I can also look back and see how much I learned and grew during those times. It’s no secret that I believe wholeheartedly in the power of stories. Prior to the written word, history was passed from generation to generation through oral narrative. Visual storytelling, using rudimentary drawings on cave walls, dates back 30,000 years at least. It is human nature to use the power of story to inform, instruct, and inspire. And every single one of us has our own story: things we’ve experienced or learned, things we can share with the world to help others feel less alone. If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that being brave with our own stories gives others permission to be brave with theirs, too. That’s what this book is for me: a gift, an offering, a way to help others find the light in their darkness and understand that the world needs their stories, too.
I spent Launch Day at our family cabin in the Adirondack Mountains with my husband, children, and in-laws. I was a bundle of nerves the whole day, but the good kind of nerves; it was thrilling to see orders coming in, share reviews from my launch team, and hear about the impact this little book-baby of mine has had on those who’ve read it. I got to see it on shelves of a real, live bookstore, and in less than 48 hours, the Book House had already sold out!
The thing that has meant the most, I think, is seeing my children react to this book. In many ways, I wrote it for them. It’s the story of journeys: my journey before them, and how our journeys entwined to make a new one. My daughter, who is quiet and typically scarce with her praise (hello, teenage years!) wants to read it for her English class. My son, while watching me print labels for shipping, had the sweetest conversation with my husband in the other room, one that I don’t think he knew I was listening to.
Atticus: “Dada, Mama is doing a good job with her book!”
Kyle: “She sure is, buddy!
Atticus, after a pause: “And she never, ever gave up. Even when it was hard.”
Kyle, smiling: “Yeah. I’m pretty proud of her.”
Atticus: “I’m proud of her, too.”
Cue the sobs. My kids are watching, and they’ve heard me talk about this book for actual years now, and they know how important it is to me. It’s been such a gift to have them witness this process and that they know they are in integral part of this whole story.