"Postponed' is a term that I often feel very warm about, being an introvert and all. If there's a meeting for work or an event that I signed up to attend three weeks ago that is now postponed, I typically feel some sort of release.
Of course, one isn't supposed to feel that way, but I do.
However, postponing the publication of my first book is not one of those warm feelings.
April was the launch month for Start Here, right before most publishing houses slow for the summer or close down altogether and pick back up in the fall. This being my first time going through the publication process, I realized we'd have to scramble to complete all parts of the book before it's final.
I had the thought, "just publish it in the fall," which kicks off book season anyway. Yes, there are "summer book reads," but mine isn't exactly a summer romance novel that goes down like a chilled glass of chardonnay.
This gives me more time to process additional sections as well. My novel started out as an "adventure" novel about trekking around the globe. But as my story went along, and I was waking up at 5 am hunched over the keyboards in the middle of the dark winter (for three consecutive winters), I realized much more came out of my story.
There were the travel experiences, but the ones that made the most impact on me were the relationship choices. The hurts, the losses, the struggle to let go and move forward.
The a f t e r m a t h.
Start Here transformed over the years I've been writing it into a woman's story that seemed to not even be mine. I recall once having a conversation with a woman who got married at 32, and she said, "I almost got married at 22, but now, I realize I couldn't still be with that person because I am not the same person anymore."
I was 24 at the time and thought, "how much can one change in their twenties?" I felt like from 21 to 24, I had gained life experiences, but I didn't change much as a person. From 24 to 29, I would say I have changed a lot. I imagine this multiplies as time goes on.
The above 32 yr old comment also made me panic a little bit because I thought, well damn, if you're continually changing, and at more rapid rates as you age, how does one ever find the rhythm of life that matches the frequency of another?
You learn to love that person for who they were, who they are now, and who they have yet to become. I am not a marriage book of advice or anything (always kiss goodnight); I'm just thinking that's how it's gotta happen for marriages that last more than seven years.
Start Here begins with a girl who falls out of a tree (details coming...), and then she goes searching for meaning and belonging. When I turned 26, I met one of my best friends, who was 29 at the time. She was married and had just moved to Idaho. She was a teacher. She was beautiful. She was all these things, and I just hoped that life would look like her's by the time I was 29 -- that it would make sense and I'd have a place of belonging.
Then she called me while I was biking over the Big Wood River in Sun Valley and she said was getting a divorce, and I was like, what?
Being with her through that process and watching how she butterflied out of that situation, not that her marriage was bad, it was just what life was asking of her at the time. The way in which she honored herself continues to inspire me.
I had changed all my passwords to include a "29" in them because I thought that would be the golden age of arrival.
I am 29 right now, and it has been an excruciating process for the past two years. Sometimes, I feel like, ah, what a waste. I'm all healthy and athletic, feelin' good in my body, and yet my mental space is just a funhouse of confusion and pain.
In the past year, especially since Teej, I've begun to see life on two different planes.
There is the plane that has happened, which is rough and requires the strength of a wild woman warrior. Then, there is a second plane-- one that's hovering like a cloud above all of it and removed from it just enough to observe the emotions. Like a meditation technique, I have the situation, and I have how I'm choosing to care for my mental and emotional health apart from the situation.
We've chosen to postpone Start Here, and I'm happy with the decision, even if it means waiting a little while longer.
Thank you for your continued support as my family and I learn how to grow with the hurt that is the loss of my brother. When I finished my first draft of Start Here, he was still with me in person. I didn't imagine my book would ever include such intense pain-- thought I'd save that for the second one, but life deals some tough blows sometimes. I can say with faith, however, that the strongest warriors rise from the toughest battles.
This year has continued to deal some painful blows for other members of our hometown community and I want to extend so much love to the Swanson family, the Belgium family, and all of those impacted by the recent tragic loss of Lynnie Woolever Loucks.
Each of these circumstances was one where those affected by this person's passing imagine such situations would never happen to them. Those stories happen to other people, on the news-- not to us or in this community-- and yet, here it is-- happening right here.
Grief is a darkness through which I pray each individual will find their way and the strength and light that can come through the toughest, most unimaginable times.
Take care and be well.
All my love,