Connie calls herself an autodidact writer. The word autodidact is as impressive as the time it takes to teach yourself how to master a craft. Auto means "self" and "didact" comes from the Greek word for "teach." Connie learned by reading, taking home study courses, and creative writing workshops. She talked, practiced and shared with other writers who encouraged her to write her story because it was too important, not to tell. Connie has three blogs, one sharing spiritual thoughts, another on aging gracefully, and the other her author site. She is so passionate about writing that she gets up every day at 5:00 am and writes for 2hours. She's a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Her hobbies are genealogy, lots of crafts, too many to mention. If you ask Connie what the greatest accomplishment of her life has been? She'll tell you it's the life she created by believing in something better, "The Promise!"
Sometimes I have to remind myself, with all the problems going on in the world, that I accomplished something extraordinary this year. I published my book, The Promise, on January 4, 2020. That’s nine months exactly as of this day.
I tried taking advantage of all the hours the pandemic opened up for me as we became homebound for months. I dove into learning what the best marketing strategies worked for me. It was expensive, all-consuming, overwhelming, and definitely not worth the work or pay off for me in the end.
As I was sharing this with a friend, she reminded me to think back of why I published it in the first place. I had no grand ideas of what it would become. I just wanted to have my story put into a book so that I could give a copy to each of my kids. My friend said to me; you have by far exceeded any expectations you ever had for your book. Look what it’s become.
In this time, I have also gotten to know many other authors. One of the things I hear so many of them say is that the real rewards are not from the money you get for your book. It comes from the feedback of our readers that tells us that all our hard work made a difference in someone else life.
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my book and sharing all your wonderful reviews and thoughts. I am humbled by your giving hearts!
What a great title for a book, The Shiver. I still get the same kind of shiver from time to time that I talk about at the beginning of my story, The Promise. They are not brought on by the same traumatic experiences of my childhood. Instead, they are brought on by the familiar circumstances that surrounded that time in my life. It could be as simple as an old song, a smell, or the situations I find myself experiencing all over again.
One of those familiarities is the racial tension we are experiencing again. It takes me right back into the halls of Stenton child center and Germantown High school where I, a white girl, found myself on the other side of the issue. Racism goes both ways, and it begins with what we are taught to believe and is reinforced by what we experience for ourselves. While I experienced what it was like to be a minority, it felt as if I was a goldfish in a tank full of black mollies. I feared they might eat me alive. The shiver comes from fear and a constant effort to survive.
However, there was a time during my stay at Stenton when we no longer saw ourselves as diffèrent. It didn’t matter what color our skin was, we shared the commonality of the situation we found ourselves in. We were kids who had been abandon by our parents. It was what we felt underneath our skin that brought us together. If we could keep all the painful outside influences away from what brought us together we found harmony in each other. How easy those outside influences can make us forget the sacredness that brings us together, and helps us see ourselves in each other.
While all the familiarity congers up painful memories for me, it also reminds me how far I have come, the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and who I have become as a result of it. If I don’t let myself learn from the worst of things I’ve experienced than everything I’ve gone through is for nothing, and all I’d be left with is an empty promise.
A few weeks ago our Sunday Lancaster Newspaper had a great article called ”Sumner Lockdown Reads.”
Jeff Forster, a former reporter for LNP wrote about the importance of reading saying, ”Read something that will make you laugh, make you cry or both. Read something that will rock you out of your comfort zone. Keep reading and learning, and you’ll be young at any age.”
Nazli Hardy, associate professor of computer science at Millersvilke University said, ”I love authentic stories about people who rise to the occasion during difficult circumstances, and find out who they really are. They empower the reader to do the same.”
I felt as if Hardy, put into words what my story ”The Promise, ” is all about.
Joshua Hunter, the founder of Project Impact Lancaster and director of the Boys & Girls Club Southwest Lancaster Clubhouse, ends with a quote from De Seuss, ”The more you read, the more things you will learn. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
What better thing to do while we stay home and stay safe than to find a way to go to new places through the joy of reading.