Let’s just call this what it is: a big plug for my book. This is the book that emerged after my one-year blogging experiment. With the help and encouragement of the wonderful Brooke Warner, my “how I did it and you can too” eBook is out in the world.
I’d like to take a moment to address why I did the “Zero to Sixty in One Year” blog in the first place.
We’ve all got stories to tell.
Mine are unique to me, but not entirely unique to my generation. If you grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, you’ll recognize the cultural references I wrote about: from the Mickey Mouse Club to the Beatles, to the Summer of Love. I think it was around the time I became a grandmother that I felt a compulsion to write about my childhood, my turbulent teens, my adventures as a young mom–and the variety of challenges that came my way during my sixty years of life on this planet. As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
My plans never included having three children, or going to grad school–twice. My plans never included losing my house to a catastrophic fire that destroyed my neighborhood. My plans never included changing careers, believing I could be a writer, or becoming a grandmother, either. But when these things happened, my life changed. How do writers deal with change? They write about it!
A couple of months ago, I wrote an essay for Hippocampus magazine that touched on another reason for writing the blog and then the book. It’s a way of saying, “I was here” to future generations. Don’t we all feel the need to leave something of ourselves behind?
If you’ve read this far, and thank you, I have a request–since this is a shameless plug, I’m not too proud to beg: if you know people (parents, grandparents, yourself!) who have stories to tell (and we all do), but were afraid or overwhelmed by the idea of getting started, please take a look at my book. It’s full of examples of how I reached back for the memories and pieced together a lifetime of stories. What better Mother’s Day gift (really shameless now!) than to gently urge a mom or mom figure in your life to share some of her favorite stories so others can enjoy them?
OK, end of plug. Now onto the Oscar speech:
My father the director always said you must never forget to thank your cast and crew. So, here are some people I need to thank for helping me with the writing process.
I’m in a writing group that meets once a month. I’m the only nonfiction writer in the group, which means I’m off the hook for plot and character, but my feet are held to the fire about voice and the elements of the truth I choose to tell. I have to answer the questions: why now, why me, so what, and who cares? Really, I do.
This group saw me through my two-year MFA program in creative nonfiction, and read my thesis–all 100 pages of it. They read the first iteration of this book and are now nudging me to get back to work on the next one. My sincerest thanks to the stalwart Crawford 7: I couldn’t have done it without their thoughtful feedback,their attention to detail, their support, and their encouragement.
My husband and my kids–beside providing fodder for my writing all these years–have been my biggest cheerleaders. They listen patiently while I tell them what I’m working on, don’t seem to mind when I write about them, and have even helped me spread the word about what I’m doing. It’s currently a three-way tie at the top of the leader board. (It won’t last, though. Don’t get too comfortable, you guys.)
And to those friends who’ve been asking, “So how’s the book coming?” I say: it’s here! Take a look.