Six months ago, I took a big cleansing breath and pushed October Run out into the world. Tonight, I’m heading over to a local book party in my honor and looking forward to meeting readers and soon-to-be readers. I’m sharing the honors with Virginia Wood, a longtime Grotonite. Her Unredeemable Time is a decade-spanning family memoir. I have practiced my reading selections. I’ve got my author’s black ensemble picked out. Really, all I have to do is show up. And that’s the miracle of it. Along the way, friends have stepped up with offers to host parties, offers to talk with their local bookstores. Posting on their FaceBook pages. Bringing October Run to book clubs.
Independent books run on love and goodwill, like some of us run on caffeine and adrenaline. I hadn’t really figured that out until the real work of promotion began. I am fortunate to be a writer who can write, sans writer’s block. Give me enough hours in the day, a computer humming along, dog by my feet and I’m good. Sunshine is a nice bonus. Dog is not a necessity, but also a bonus. However, that other writing demon–doubt–does sit on my shoulder. I’ve been fortunate through the years to have angels on my other shoulder who whisper sweet things in my ear like “Go for it.” The first was a journalism professor at UCONN, John Breen. Now retired, Mr. Breen, told me to keep writing. At the time I wanted to charge at the world, not sit at a keyboard. He convinced me that the latter would help do the former. After Mr. Breen came Sally Ryder Brady who invited me to join an annual writers’ retreat on a magical island. Not only do the angels whisper in my ear on the island, they dance in the air like so many butterflies. From that group of writers, I found two subsequent writing groups that nourished me — another one led by Sally and later, one called simply the Tuesday Night group. In Sally’s group, I spent time pouring over pages with a varying roster of talented writers, including the amazing Elizabeth Berg and Sebastian Junger. The Tuesday group–Mary E. Mitchell, Angela Gerst, Mike Scott and Sherry Nadwormy are rock-solid friends and fellow travelers. My daughters, Emma and Abigail are number one fans; my husband, Art Campbell, is the one who showed me that going independent was a good thing.
There have been others. The list is long. Writing is intensely private. Sharing that writing does take a village, plus. I’m grateful to every angel that has brushed past my shoulder, whispered in my ear.