Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Every Book Can be a Gift
Each day provides its own gifts. ~Marcus Aurelius
One of the daily or weekly gifts I receive are the comments you leave here and on my Facebook author's page. It's fun getting to know you and I really enjoy when you share stories from your lives. Take Joye's comment on my blizzard post Sunday about her dad having to crawl out the attic window to shovel out their door after a blizzard. She can tell us about snow. Others have also left bits about their lives and many of you leave encouraging words for me. You might be surprised to know how often writers need encouraging words. But then I suppose that's true for everybody no matter what work they do. We can all use a kind word and a smile. I want everything I write whether it's a short Facebook comment, an e-mail, or a 100,000 word story to somehow be an encouragement to whoever reads them.
Cathy left me one of those kind and encouraging comments this week. In case you don't read the comments on posts, here is the part that had me smiling. "Just found a true treasure...one of your older books called "The Gifting". I absolutely LOVE this book. I think you should re-release it. Page 71..."Don't ruin a gifting by measuring it. Just enjoy."
So I am enjoying and remembering too. I don't remember writing those words on page 71, but I'm glad I did. It sounds like very good advice. I wrote that little book for young readers over twenty years ago, but the book lived up to its title for me. A gift. So I'm taking the liberty to change that quote at the beginning of my post a bit to say "Every book provides its own gift."
You see when I wrote that book my father was dying with pancreatic cancer. During his illness, he became agitated and not himself and it was a very hard time for him and for all of us. The Gifting is about a young girl, Ginny and her recluse neighbor, Miss Nellie. I have to admit I'd forgotten my characters' names until I read the blurb on the cover. A lot of characters through the keyboard since then. But while I might not remember the names, I do remember the story and how thinking about those characters and what they might be going to do next helped me stop obsessively worrying about my dad and about Mom who was taking care of him. Worrying didn't help Dad or Mom either. So when the night pushed in on me and I couldn't sleep, I'd think about Ginny and Miss Nellie. The story was a gift to me.
Since then, I've been "gifted" with many other stories. Some of them have come at other hard times in my life. Right now is a hard time for me with my mother's struggle with dementia. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to get the next book written, but then the gift of a story will come. My last Shaker book, The Gifted, has a thread throughout about the blessing of gifts from the Lord and how we use those gifts. Like Jessamine in The Gifted, I think the Lord gave me a gift for words and intended for me to use that gift to tell stories. But at the same time that my books might turn out to be a gift to you, they can also be a gift to me while I'm writing them. But I do think I've probably used all the titles with gift in them that I can. But then you never know? I might be given another "gift" book. The Gift. His Gift. Her Gift. A Thousand Gifts. :)
Thanks for reading. And remember you can leave a comment here or on Jocie's Hollyhill blog to throw your name in the hat for the drawing for an autographed copy of Scent of Lilacs. Each comment on a new post gets you a new entry. I'll draw three winners on March 3 and let Jocie announce the winners on March 4. This drawing is open only to those of you who give me the gift of your comments here on my journals.