The Easy Part


Writing a memoir about the journey of my daughter Alicia and our family during one of the most difficult, challenging, painful and indeed overwhelming chapters of all of our family’s life was… hmmmm…. the easy part!

Up until about half an hour ago I never really thought of myself as a writer never mind an author. So all of it really is uncharted territory. Trust me when I say that I am perhaps more surprised than any one that I was able to sit still long enough to produce and publish a book. During one of my recent talks since the publishing of To Dance in the Rain – A Mother and Daughter’s Journey of Hope and Healing, I mentioned that I had been pinching myself since the shipment of books arrived at the door. Well, I hate to sound as though I haven’t come all that far, but I still am.

This acknowledgement is in no way self-deprecating; I am proud of what I have created. I’m thrilled with the amazing response to the book that has been shared by so many and I am exuberant about seeing the art that crept up from deep inside and with the simple tools of pen and paper was able to blossom into a new passion.

I would like to share with you the process, whys and wherefores of the writing and self-publishing of To Dance in the Rain  A Mother and Daughter’s Journey of Hope and Healing in upcoming posts.


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So let’s start at the beginning or the middle …wherever.

So, why did you start to write? I have been asked by more than a few and not to be simplistic, but I simply had to. I have alway been in possession of a stream of consciousness that is relentlessly informative, probing, inquisitive, problem solving, entertaining, and even sometimes annoyingly so. Every once in a while I even share those attributes with others. A lot of it swirls around inside though, looking for a way out. It’s just busy up there folks! Personally, I am mostly amused by all of it at this point. Admittedly though, it took some years to just relax with it all. I have grown to embrace the busyness and joke now that it is just part of my charm. Debatable to some!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis thought process only takes a handful of hours off on any given day, just enough to quiet down and recharge. Thoughts come, thoughts go; one will be in full focus and then veer off suddenly in another direction in search of an answer or idea.

As I look back I am aware that I have not changed much over the last half century, when I first sought to observe my inner workings. I distinctively remember walking home from kindergarten one afternoon and being very happy because I could do that ‘all by myself’. Along with that thought came a confidence and independence inside. I decided one day, that if I took just enough time to think about it, I could probably solve many of the problems in this world. I was in no way politically minded or even technologically so, but I would spend a fair amount of time each day forming ideas in order to figure out how to solve the issues of world hunger, other social injustices or how to make some contraption work. I also loved to think about how the mind works, but unfortunately I only had one subject to study and that was from the inside looking in.

I believe I was eleven or twelve when I took possession of a sketch pad and mapped “mind systems” which included how perception of time, days of the week, months of the year and other commonly used visualizations of thought could be depicted. It was in 3D model form and eventually I started asking around in order to plot other peoples descriptions of the same. The goal was to compare the inner decoration of our minds  and to see if other people’s were similar or different and then to try and figure out why. So while trying to make sense of how mine and other peoples minds worked, I mostly dealt with  rolling of eyes and my first pangs of rejection. Did I ever mention how I had only a few friends growing up : )

Looking back I recall that it was in or around the middle school years that I started to be aware that it was at times difficult to quiet down the debates, problem solving or observations going on inside in order to just relax. It was at that point that I headed into the woods; it was within nature that I always found that peace. A priority of mine from that point on was to seek out peacefulness, especially inside. This was in large part because it would be a break from the busyness going on up there. I had a meditative soul that just wouldn’t quiet down that easy, was all. There were days that it felt like the motor was always running.

I often wondered about whether others were also distracted by thoughts as they presented themselves frequently and with amusing variety. I could usually focus, redirect and refocus in another direction easily, but sometimes this would lead to feeling a bit scattered. I was usually able to get back to the tasks at hand, deal with them and solve them. Although I did quite well in school, it  was always a bit challenging to appear as though I was listening while checking out the birds flying around in the trees and the planes making their way across the sky.

Have you ever entertained the question of whether or not you were even on the ‘normal’ spectrum? I’d venture to say that most of us have. Whether people think about things the same way, etc, has always been a question for me. I don’t mean necessarily their opinions, but rather their process of thinking. Eventually it hit me, first of all, what is ‘normal’? Secondly, who cares? Then it sunk in…You’re having fun here, carry on!

Round about eighth grade I started spending long periods of time sitting in the woods thinking about life and what it meant… Searching for answers, developing more questions and analyzing the workings of it all. Especially the processes of our minds, those of the people around me and those I enjoyed watching. I tried to make sense of how we visualized shared experiences; it was like empathy on steroids.

So with all that dialogue going on inside, it became almost a necessity to get some of it outside the confines of my head.  To help a long story find some closure, this is where the writing started. During junior high school, I started keeping a journal, which gradually became more intricate. There weren’t enough tabs in a pack to separate the different sections. There was a daily log, a period log with multiple sections within itself, quotes, poems, dreams and ‘crossroads’ that delved into decisions made that took me in a new direction in life, to name a few. Does graphing feelings daily on a scale of 1-10 sound over the top to you? Ok, never mind!

Hours of fun jotting thoughts, feelings and ideas turned out to be hours of practice for my eventual passion to write.

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