Door to Direction
Following the powerful group experience, I nervously shared My Forgotten Self with friends, like Ursula, a New Thought minister. It elicited the familiar silence and then, “You really need to publish this!” She continued in an equally serious tone, “Such a deep and universally relatable story.” “Universal?” Another seed planted. Sensing my hesitation, she suggested I share it with people who “know writing” and could give me feedback: “Go to this writing group!” she directed.
Door to Guidance
In walked Warren Smith, a youthful-looking, shiny-headed, white male with kind eyes. He introduced himself and began teaching story elements—plot, conflict, character. . . I tried to keep up with the words and corresponding white-board sketches. Following this brief, intense lesson, Warren read his own piece. Other readers followed, everyone giving and receiving compassionate feedback from Warren and the group.
I nervously read My Forgotten Self and met the tell-tale silence. Finally, the first comment:
“When are you going to publish that so I can buy copies for myself and my granddaughter?"
“Granddaughter?” There it was again--a children’s book?!
Others chimed in with compliments. Warren suggested ways to improve the tale. Before leaving I took his card.
Our first meeting:
Warren: “we as writers…”
Me: “I’m sorry, who’s we?”
Warren: “You and me.”
Me: *laughing* “Oh no, I’m not a writer.”
*25 minutes of encouragement, redefinition and debate later*
Me: “…so, what you’re saying is, I’m a writer?”
After that intervention, Warren became my writing coach and much more: editor, networker, agent, and therapist. I playfully dubbed him, “Tiev’s Godfather.” He’s thankfully held my hand from the beginning. I now confidently call myself a WRITER!
Door to Manifestation
Warren's First assignment: write down ideas describing the book's illustrations.
Warren's Second assignment: find someone bold (or crazy) enough to transform my ramblings into meaningful pictures. Oy! I pitied the fool!
Warren suggested illustrators. I finally met Michele Phillips and instantly liked her! Her easy going style, sense of humor and open mind attracted me. After her first drawing, it was confirmed: Fool? Not on your life! Insightful and brilliant? Absolutely! She connected my descriptive ramblings to the visual world, and built upon them magically. There they were; my thoughts manifest!
My reaction to first seeing Tiev was reminiscent of the way I felt when I first looked at my children’s faces after birthing them—wonderment, excitement, mystical.
Theeeen...nothing...screeching halt…life kicked in and My Forgotten Self was, for all intents and purposes, forgotten; collecting megabyte dust on my hard drive.
Door to Divine Harassment
Fast forward, four very full years later; I was re-visited by the same Divine Friend who gifted me with Tiev's once-upon-a-time tale. My Forgotten Self was now bombarding my mind! Once a month became once a week became once a day until I literally shouted, "OKAY! I'LL PUBLISH IT!"
The second start was slow, like pressing the big red button on an old conveyor belt in an abandoned factory: contacting Warren and Michele, reminding everyone about the book and illustrations; outlining timelines and agendas; contacting publishers, etc.
Ah, now you’re all caught up! Illustration is taking place. My “team”—Michele, Warren and the Holy Spirit (and countless others in support)— are graciously supporting this process.
As doors continue to swing, I would be honored to continue sharing the gifts and lessons I pick up along the way. Stay tuned!
Related Post: Paths to Purpose
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