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.
There are many characteristic of a fairy tale. Mine would be the one marked by seemingly unreal beauty, perfection, luck, love, and a happily ever after ending. But in real life embracing the fairy tale is like receiving a beautiful gift without any instructions on how to build it or care for it.
I had to unlearn my old ways, one thing at a time as they came into play. Like worry. Every one worries about things when the occasion merits it. That’s normal. But for me worry was the main focus of my everyday life. All of a sudden I’m living my beautiful dream and my only worry was what I would make for dinner. That wasn’t worrisome enough so I’d start worrying about when the rug was going to be pulled out from under me. When was Tom going to leave me like everyone else did.
I had no trouble trusting that God would never leave me, but it took a long time to put my faith and trust in another human being. The luck within my fairytale was having someone like Tom who constantly told me how much he loved me.
As I write this I realize that I do have a fairytale story with beauty, luck, love and a happily ever after ending. It’s all the in-between stuff that puts the meat and bones on our love story.
One of the things that helped me the most over the years was having friends to share my thoughts with. Knowing that others had the same goals, thoughts and concerns made me feel normal. It’s not right to leave people with the impression that everything is perfect. We learn and grow from each other.
My hope is that you will find this a place where you can share your thoughts and questions as well. We all have a valued amount of information stored up inside us. Why not pass the goodness on?
I leave you with a lesson on worry from—Winston Churchill.
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”– Anne Frank
A friend of mine recently reminded me of how Anne Frank was stuck in a 450 square foot area with 7 other people for 2yrs and 35 days. And yet she wrote:
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
In my story, I talked about what it was like to lose everything. Some of my biggest lessons came from that. Feeling empty naked and vulnerable, I found comfort in the only thing that remained a constant in my life, and that was my friendship with God. Sometimes I think we are thrust into desperate situations so that we can find our way back to our connecting source. When we reconnect with that mystical Divinity that cannot be explained by science, we become whole in a way that gets us through the worst of things.
During these difficult times, we sometimes find strength in watching or reading about stories of survival. I’ve seen the movie of Anne Frank a few times, but I don’t think I ever actually read the book. I was thinking of downloading it for free on my Kindle eBook. I have Kindle Unlimited, which allows me to download as many books as I can read in a month for only $9.99. That’s less then you usually pay for one book. It’s well worth it if you’re an avid reader. But even if you’re not, they usually offer it for free the first month. I believe they are offering it free for two months right now, so you might want to check it out. If you’re not interested in any commitments like that I’ve lowered the price on my eBook The Promise from $7.00 to $3.99. And you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it. You can download the Kindle app on your phone, iPad, or your computer. The app is free.
I am honored by the words of Joe C., who wrote at the end of his beautiful review on Amazon: “Not since the Diary of Anne Frank was I so totally moved by an author’s personal story.