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Linda's First PostSeptember 1, 2012
I didn’t know I was a writer until I was 45, when my husband Dan, brother John and I decided to do something to change the world. We wanted to be part of the solution. Concerned about the rising violence by children against themselves and one another, we felt a deep calling to somehow give them a sense of meaning about their precious lives. Months of discernment led us to put new light on the ancient virtues, which are at the very core of meaning.
How do you reach the children? By reaching their parents. Suddenly, the need for a book arose. Dan was the researcher, John the designer, and by default, I became the writer. Writing is now tightly woven into my soul and my identity. I don’t want to write. I have to write.
Not that writing is without its pain. Red Smith said “Writing is easy. You just sit there staring at the blank page, while beads of blood form on your forehead.” As any author will tell you, it is one of the most vulnerable of professions. It’s a lot like childbirth. At first, you are pregnant with an idea, and you wonder what it will look like as it comes to light. It grows bigger and more pressing and feeds on the very marrow of your bones. During months of gestation, its parts emerge and finally, you give birth. It’s a messy process. It takes time, and it comes from your gut and your soul. And when it first sees the light as a complete entity, it certainly is your baby. You anxiously await the first responses. Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Is it going to find its way in the world?
I am writing this, my first blog, to announce the birth of my fifth child, er book, Graceful Endings: Navigating the Journey of Loss and Grief. For the first time, I am not delivering it via the usual publishing complex of agent and mainstream publisher, but with the help of a simple midwife, Create Space, the publishing arm of Amazon. It seems right. It feels natural.
Frederick Buechner says, “Your calling is where your deepest gladness and the world’s hunger meet.” My first book, The Family Virtues Guide, was about how to raise a child. Graceful Endings is about how to companion one another until death. My heart’s desire is that it will provide comfort, clarity and inspiration. At its heart is the story of my younger brother John’s journey with terminal brain cancer and mine as his caregiver. I send it off with a lunch box packed with love and hope, hope that it will be as healing for you to read as it was for me to write.