Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Writer's Regret

"Best way I could think of to show Walking Butterfly to your Mom."

My Dad sent me this photograph the other day. 

This writing journey of mine began so long ago that I honestly cannot find the starting point. I grew up with books and often had my nose in a Nancy Drew Mystery and I have a very vivid memory of reading Gone With The Wind in almost one sitting.

Books and libraries were always important to me, and then in school more than one English teacher encouraged me to keep writing. Math was an indecipherable language for me, but I could always gather high grades in English. The High School English teacher who announced that we were required to write every single day heard groans from most of the class, but received a huge smile from this student. 

I do not remember ever seeing my mom sit down with a book when I was little, but she did love books and the art of writing...and libraries. Maybe she read late at night like I do. The house I remember most clearly had a TV room with one entire wall lined with book shelves that I am pretty sure she and my dad built. In her last home where my dad still lives, there is a very similar room stuffed with books. My mom taught me to love books.

I believe that my mother wanted to be a writer. We talked about the craft of writing and traded books back and forth for years once I was grown up and away from home. I was reminded of this after she passed away in 2011 and I inherited a cardboard box of old and new books she had collected. In among the novels and how-to books were many about writers and the art of writing. 

She would love my book. But she never got to see it. And it breaks my heart. 

I published my book, WALKING BUTTERFLY, this last February and not a week goes by that I don't fantasize about how she'd react to it. I want to put it in her hands and see the look in her eyes. I want to hear that she'd sent copies of it to all of her friends. 

I know that she was proud of my writing as I spent years writing articles, devotionals and newsletters. She didn't say much about them, but while staying in her home after her death I came across a file full of everything I'd ever written publicly, and copies of emails where she'd forwarded my writing to my aunts and other family members. 

Mother's Day is coming soon and along with it comes the anniversary of her passing on May 19th. I love that my Dad took my book to her gravesite and let me know about it. We both know that she is not really there. We also know that she is seeing my book and that Heaven is probably tired of hearing about it. 

But still. 

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  1. That is SO wonderful that your Dad did this for you...and for your Mom. I just know she is showing your book and your picture to everyone in heaven...just like any proud mother would do. We don't know just what they can and can't see up there...but I have NO DOUBT that cheers went up from her mansion the day your book was published! I just know she was whispering many love notes to you as you wrote the book...she was looking over your shoulder with every stroke of the keyboard...saying..."don't forget to include this story, Susie!" Yes, your mama knows all about it...and you can bet Jesus has probably already read a copy too! Your Dad is "TOPS" to do this!

  2. It occurs to me, in the eternal timeline of which we are a part, that you and your mom are snuggled together and reading and laughing and crying...right this minute. It's beautiful that you can trace your love back and follow it forward. Your mama done good. :-)
    Beckie (from free2b2much)

  3. That is so sweet that your mom gets to see your book, from the vantage point of heaven. My dad died just months before my first book was published so he did not get to see it. I wish he could have read it and held it in his hands but that was not to be.

    1. It's hard isn't it? We can imagine it and trust that they can still watch and care.

  4. "We also know that she is seeing my book and that Heaven is probably tired of hearing about it."

    Hahaha! You know...I think you're right. I really do.

    1. I'm pretty sure she is enjoying some more important stuff but it is fun to imagine.

  5. Susie: I am glad your dad did this. It tells me a lot about him. I sit here with a tear in my eye. When, my picture was the local newspaper as a part of a group who published an issue of a small literary magazine. One of the women at church cut it out of the paper and gave it to me. That meant more than she will ever know. Blessings on you and yours.

    1. Thank you Celeste. Yes it meant a great deal to me. We write for ourselves, but signs of recognition are extremely valuable aren't they? I remember a lady in the church we pastored who put my newspaper column on her refrigerator a few times. I was so thrilled!

  6. Susie this is a precious post as well as humorous--your last lines about Heaven being tired of hearing about your book made me smile.
    My mother died at 55 when I was only 33 (30 years ago) and I think she wanted to be a writer, too, as I have files of hers with stories and typed out notes and least we have those.

    May God get your book into the hands of the folks who will need it.

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