My wonderful family, the day before Thanksgiving 2012
So it's been a bit crazy the past few months.
I've neglected this blog. Although it's something I regret, I don't know if it was avoidable. Part of the purpose of this blog was to post the parenting columns I used to write for our NY newspaper. I loved the deadline that forced me to, as my writer's group in NY used to say, 'get my butt in the chair'. Every week I had to come up with just under a thousand words, talking about what was going on in our little world of parenting four growing kids. It forced me to journal and I love going back to read those entries.
Then I suddenly stopped being so diligent. The newspaper job went away with the news we were leaving town. It's kind of impossible to write a local column when you no longer live in the state.
Over the course of 2011 we moved across the country to Colorado. Yes, it took a full year. A year full of glitches and frustrations that I was not unhappy to see turn into a different year. I was much more fond of this present year. It's hard to believe we're about to move into 2013, which will officially be our second New Years celebration in Colorado.
This new year brought many changes, life speed bumps that kept me from this blog. Some good. Some not so good. Health issues. Graduated kids and their changing life plans. New jobs to adapt to. Finally permanent housing to move into, with boxes to unpack, bedrooms to be personalized. Then there was the completion of the book.
This book that I've been writing for over eight years, about the journey to being an amputee mom. The life journey that led me to beg every doctor I could find to do me a favor and cut off that old mangled foot. Then finding one who had the trust that I wouldn't sue him. Then the amazing new life I got to discover with the help of a prosthetic foot that did so much more than my old flesh and bone foot ever could.
The one that sat in my files and got some attention every now and then. A tweak here. A bit of editing there. Changing chapters, re-writing like crazy. Sending the partial manuscript out to willing friends and adjusting things with their suggestions. Minor changes, major overhauls.
For eight years.
In January of 2012 another stone was laid in the path that led to finally finishing my book. I checked out a new book at the library, as I often do. This one was about a breast cancer survivor. I love a good memoir and this one inspired me, once again, to pull out my own manuscript.
I emailed the author, to tell her I loved her book. She emailed me back the same day. Through a series of communications she strongly encouraged me to get my book going. She'd self published her book, originally, and later it was picked up by a publisher. I was intrigued.
The more research I did on self publishing, the more I began to see a home for my manuscript. The publishing world is changing quickly. Self publishing is not the scarlet letter it used to be. If a book is quality, it will be paid attention to, self published or not. I dove into more research, even as I was still unpacking moving boxes
Then another stone fell in my lap. A friend I'd known well when we were children, showed up on facebook. In a few get-back-acquainted messages she mentioned she'd be interested in looking over my manuscript. She had a journalism degree and was open to giving me a few pointers.
A few pointers turned into a six month long, practically full time adventure. She dove in with gusto and polished that manuscript until it finally felt just right.
Our goal was to get it published by August 1st. We only missed our deadline by a month. Summer slipped away in the midst of fact checking, line editing and final reads. Then suddenly it was in my hands. This book I'd worked on for so many years. The picture that graced the cover was taken by my husband, a month before we published. My author photo was taken by my 11 year old on the morning that my editor friend insisted she needed one to add to the manuscript...today!
Anyone who has written a book knows that the publication date is just the beginning. For the past two months I've been knee deep in marketing. I have sent out fliers to every friend who offered to post one. I've also sent out large batches to Orthopedic hospitals and rehab facilities. I want this book in the hands of anyone touched by amputation. It's the story of how losing a limb can be a good thing. It's a story of hope, and doing all you can to get the life you really want.
I bought the domain name and built a book website, loading it with essays about elective amputation, links for amputee support, before and after pictures, and links to buy the book (justonefoot.com). I've sent out news releases to many newspapers, magazines and talk shows. I've had a few good newspaper articles written, including a front page story in my childhood hometown paper. Two weeks ago I was in my hometown and had a very successful book signing. Yesterday I got an email telling me my book is now shelved in my local library, a fact that gave me great joy. Next week the TV station in Columbia Missouri will run a piece about my book and my amputation decision. Slowly, slowly the word is getting out there.
But on the flip side of my life, my kids keep growing, things keep changing around here, and I feel a deep need to start documenting it again. If nothing else, for my own peace of mind ten years from now, when my house is eerily quiet and I wonder where all the chaos went.
The book marketing will continue. But so will my job as being mom to these kids, wife to this man I share my life with. Two days ago we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Tomorrow is my 46th birthday.
It's time to once again start documenting this life we've created, and write something that's not necessarily related to 'the book'.