CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Angela Schaefers: The Benefit of Writing My Story

It’s another Friday. Are you ready for this work week to come to a close? I certainly wouldn’t object but there is still much writing to do, much more storytelling to take place. And this week’s guest blogger here at CHRIS’S CORNER is no stranger to storytelling. I was first introduced to Angela Schaefers when I was serving as a magazine editor for a local women’s magazine. I learned of a  remarkable woman who had shared her own story of overcoming tragedies and obstacles, including being diagnosed with stage IV cancer over nine years ago.

Angela quickly discovered that by sharing her own story she could inspire others to tackle their personal challenges and begin the healing process. Angela’s message is consistent: everybody has a unique story of value. She’s translated this message into a platform  “Your Story Matters” which has prevailed across a variety of avenues  – from books to articles to social media and speaking engagements, as well as an online radio show aptly titled “Your Story Matters”. In her book Your Story Matters, You Matter, Angela has been able to reach out to others, connect and share her insight on how to learn, heal and share their story.

I asked Angela if she would stop by my blog and talk about the background behind writing her story and the benefits of going through the process, and she was kind enough to say ‘yes.’  Like Angela, I encourage people to find whatever means possible to tell their story – whether it’s through words in a private journal, a shared blog or a book, or through some other means entirely including art, music, food, fashion or another medium. When we share, we learn from each other and ourselves. Thanks, Angela, for sharing with us.

You can follow Angela on Twitter here.

__________________________________________________

AngelaSchaefers

When I first wrote my story I felt I was only doing so for my kids, to leave them a written record of who I was and who I had become based on my past. I never knew until later how much I was writing my story for my own healing, for others’ encouragement and as part of my journey to discover my purpose. The beginning of writing our story, or any other way we capture it (art, images, etc.) is powerful as it leads to more and more self knowledge. The unfolding of our authentic selves and our lives, while unpeeling layers of memories embedded in our hearts and minds, leads to learning a great deal about oneself.

When I started to write my story, from my beginning, I was charged with this surreal energy that was stirred by wanting to remember all the details that shaped me. There were times that details I suddenly remembered made me laugh and smile, especially those experiences that instantly made sense about why I was the unique person that I am. Silly and fun loving, but unique!

And then there were the moments when I was writing and had to pause. Sometimes these pauses lasted more than a day or two. It was overwhelming at those times when I recalled parts of my story that were uncomfortable, painful and even gut wrenching. I had to take the time to catch my breath and let it all sink in. I had to allow the pain to surface. I may have wanted to stop writing my story, but I knew that my story needed to be unraveled. As time went on, I knew it should be shared.

Knowing my story, facing my truths and dealing with my feelings about it helped me to discover more about myself than I ever knew I could. It helped me to interpret where my worldview came from. It helped me to understand why I felt a certain way about things and why I  reacted and responded the way I did to various things and people.

Part of the healing process for me, that stemmed from the knowledge of my story, was learning to forgive both myself and others over painful circumstances through out my life. I was finally able to discern ‘why’ about a great deal of things and to put into perspective how my current life and my future was not based on my past. What was imparted to me from my story was all part of the process of learning and growing, yet it (the past) no longer had a grip on me.

The gift in learning from my story was the awareness that all I had been through in my life was worth it because it was all for the purpose of gaining wisdom. That enlightenment helped me to change my life for the better and when shared with others has helped many on their own journey.

Over time, I discovered that my story mattered! My story offers hope to the hopeless, encouragement and inspiration to many. I was empowered by it and am able to empower others too! This knowledge brought me to the realization that my purpose is, in part, to share my story and others’ stories, too; to incite positive connections to those similar to us and not. Sharing our stories with one another creates kinship and can  help overcome barriers to conflict and communication. What better way for each of us to do our part to change the world, for good, one story at a time!

I implore you to get your story out of your head and onto paper, on a canvas or into a media form. Learn from it, heal from it and share it!

Advertisements

On GoodReads? Let’s Gab!

Kindle1This one will be a shorter post today. I wanted to remind anyone who follows me to connect with me on GoodReads, as well. It’s a great little community and an awesome spot to simply start a dialogue with like-minded readers who enjoy similar books. A little birdie told me that you are likely to see me as a GoodReads author out there myself sometime in the not-so-distant future. Will keep you posted on that! For now, click here to stop by for a visit and friend me on GoodReads so we can get down and dirty talking about our favorite books. And let me tell you: I have an eclectic bunch of titles – from plays to novels, existential literature and classic fiction to young adult and my growing obsession with contemporary romance, and most recently, a new addition, some exploring of the erotica genre.

In fact, I’ve just added a few book reviews today of Cameron’s Lincoln‘s last two books in the Holiday Heat Series, TIDES OF LUST and OCEANS OF DESIRE. Cameron is going to be a guest blogger in a few weeks, and if you are a romance reader who has been looking for opportunities to stretch your reading interests in some new directions, one area that seems to be growing in popularity especially with restless romance readers is the more heat-inspired, erotic romance genre. Writers like Lincoln, Paige Thomas and Chase Boehner are starting to garner some serious attention from readers who don’t normally dip in the erotica pool.

Lately, reading in general has been a real challenge for me. I have several books on my Kindle that I pre-ordered and awaited their arrival with great frenzy and yet there they sit now, patiently waiting for me. They include BEAUTIFUL STRANGER by Christina Lauren (the second installment in that popular series) and as of this morning, THIS GIRL, the eagerly anticipated third book from Colleen Hoover (love her!!) to follow two of my absolute favorite books SLAMMED and POINT OF RETREAT.

Finding the time to steal away for a little pleasure reading has been quite a feat. In fact, I started the very eagerly awaited WALKING DISASTER by Jamie McGuire several weeks ago, follow-up to the popular and much-adored (moi included) BEAUTIFUL DISASTER.  Between my work schedule and getting my own book ready to publish, as well as the mixed reaction on my part to the sequel, it’s been slow going. I’m almost done and frankly, can’t wait to be finished. And that reaction surprises me tremendously. Hmm. To be fair, haven’t technically finished yet. You’ll just have to read my GoodReads review when I complete it to find out the ultimate verdict.

So…don’t be a stranger. Let’s shoot the breeze about our favorite authors and titles – old and new – and celebrate the geeky bookish fools that we are. *hoists large banner* Letting the book-reading freak flag fly high…WOOT WOOT!

Happy reading (oh yes, indeedy!)
ck

The Versatile Blogger Award — Moi? Cooooool…

So a lovely young woman who has a great blog called Family, Friends and Everything in Between recently surprised me by leaving a thoughtful comment on my About Author page and telling me that she had nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award.

VersatileBlogger

I was speechless.

Me, the long-winded nightmare.

It meant a lot to me but unfortunately, caught me off guard and at the time of an epic cluster-you-know-what deadline, and I wasn’t able to respond politely and graciously as I would have liked. So I apologize to her personally here for not thanking her sooner. Kristy has a smart, fun blog that brings positivity and thoughtful dialogue to the conversation.

If you have been nominated you have won the award.

So I’m following along with the “rules” of the award. (Well, kinda.) And posting below what is expected of me (sorta) as said winner.

Here’s the following rules for those that I nominate (If I always followed the rules, all of the time…) :

-Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. (okay, did that)
-Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it. (absolutely, did that)
-Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly,  blogs or bloggers that are excellent! (okay…*getting tentative now*How about 9 instead?)
-Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site. http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/  (so now all of these people must do the same thing…hmm. That’s a lot to ask…)
-Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. (OK, I can do that)

The blogs I am nominating:

The following are in no special order but reflect an eclectic mix that I enjoy following – from family life to photography, from writing to witty observations. A quick note: I would like to have also included Stuff I Tell My Sister (http://stuffitellmysister.me/) but she was already nominated within my group, so she can’t make my list, but please check out her blog. It rocks, too!

I also want to point out that I follow a number of awesome authors’ blogs across romance, erotica, suspense and other genres. I haven’t featured any of them because frankly I wouldn’t know who to include and who to leave out. But anytime you’re looking for a suggestion in a particular genre, I hope you’ll pop by my blog and ask. I can point you in any number of fabulous directions.

Okay, back to the award stuff.

Please note that I am following the protocol of this said awesome award. (Okay, not really. I’m pretty much breaking a lot of the rules but I’m making an effort, so that’s something…).

Do with it as you will. Know that my little nod comes completely as a true fan of your work. If you’d like to pass along, do so. If not, I will not take it personally. I realize this award, while absolutely lovely and appreciated, asks a lot of its recipients, and I want to be respectful of your time. But do let me know that you did get my message of affection for the good stuff you’re putting out there for the rest of us. Deal? OK.

Here they are…

1.  A Nine Pound Hammer…or a woman like you, either of these will do  http://aninepoundhammer.com

2.  Christian Mihai http://cristianmihai.net/

3.  The Kitchen Witch http://thekitchwitch.com

4.  The Story Reading Ape http://thestoryreadingapeblog.wordpress.com/

5.  Peevish Penman http://peevishpenman.blogspot.com/

6.  The Duffel Blog http://www.duffelblog.com/

7.  Exploding Unicorn http://www.explodingunicorn.blogspot.com/

8.   Boxfotos http://boxfotos.com/

9.  The Parenting Beat http://theparentingbeat.wordpress.com

The 7 things about myself

1. My first job, besides a little babysitting, was working as a movie usher and theater concession worker. I loooooved it. Employees were allowed one free movie per day at any of the company’s area theaters. That really came in handy in the summer. This was one of the first movies I ushered, too. Damn. That was a funny movie.

BackToSchool

2. First trip to Disney World, I was 4 years old and apparently balling like a baby because I didn’t get to see Mickey Mouse walking around like I had hoped. As it is reported to me (since I was a little young to remember), we were getting ready to leave and a wandering Mickey Mouse came right up to me and got in position to pose for a photo. And I’ve got the shot to prove it.

MeAndMickey

3. I can’t do anything really interesting. No cool tricks or skills. I have one really good card trick, but that’s it. I can’t juggle, I don’t balance things on any body parts, I can’t do sleight of hand tricks, touch my nose with my tongue or roll my eyes back into my head. Hell, I can’t even whistle. I’m just a boring girl raised by midwestern parents in southwest Florida who used to like sitting in her room and dreaming up made-up characters, songs, TV shows and movies while growing up. No biggie. The only two talents I can point to at all are that I can usually identify a pop song from 1960-2000 by just hearing one or two notes and…I at one time memorized every Oscar winning movie, actor and actress and still have some remnants of this completely useless knowledge lingering behind.

4. During my lifetime, I’ve been a financial aid counselor, on-air radio news announcer, evening switchboard operator, telemarketer, graphic designer, marketing manager, receptionist, metro newspaper promotional writer, magazine editor, and my personal favorite (and, yes, I’m being my signature, smart-ass self), an inbound phone rep selling cigars of all things (READ: lifelong non-smoker…I mean, like NEVER smoked anything…EVER! So how funny is that?)

5. I got my first dog as a pet at the age of THIRTY. His name is Dexter. Happy to say he’s still with us at the ripe old age of 15. I speak of him often online, snap pictures of him to annoy the hell out of him and consider him my “assistant” since I spend more time with him on a daily basis than any other animal or human. He’s a Dachshund-Chihuahua (aka chiwienie) -long legs, long back. Overall, a freak of nature. And I love him for it. Here he is working hard on the job, as always.

MarkerBoy

6. I’m a bit of a freak of nature myself (in more ways than I could possibly list here). But I love English and math. Usually, you’re only supposed to gravitate to one, but I’ve always loved words and numbers. In fact, when I was in college, I tutored algebra and English at the same time at the campus learning center. So when I release my next steamy romance series Lust and Logarithms, well, you’ll know why…

7. I’m shy. Okay, there’s a few people that will be laughing at this last “fact” about me, but it’s true. I may not seem that way here or on Twitter. If you’ve ever gone toe to toe with the banter or double entendres (or I suppose fingertip to fingertip is  more apropos), you’ll know I can hold my own. But it’s true. I’m the biggest wallflower there is. I freak out at even the concept of attending a party where I know nobody at all. Put me at the center of attention and I might as well curl up in the fetal position right now. I’m trying to work on it, but it isn’t easy. Within smaller groups or among those who really know me well, I can let loose. But out there…in that big scary place…*gasp* Writing is a solitary life that you can so easily choose to maintain every day. We like our quiet, we like our solitude – well, some of us do. I’m sure there are exceptions, but for most of us, we’d much rather hang with the dog.

MeAndDex

Wow. What a munchkin he was then. Only a year or so after we got him. Yes, we all look much younger then.

I will say this whole experience virtually meeting others and forcing myself to come out of my little shell to talk to others and begin promoting the book is, I know, going to be a very valuable all-around experience, as I suspect it is for other shy, quiet types. So… *takes a deep inhale* I’m ready for it.

I think.

No, I am. Really.

Let’s do this thing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And so, there you go… my little foray into award land. Once again, thank you, Kristy, for the nod. And to anyone looking for interesting blogs, I do hope if you take away anything at all from this bizarro blog entry that you check out some of these groovy sites I suggested. I’m confident you’ll find them as interesting as I do.

Happy reading!
ck

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Karen M. Hanks: Celebrating Indie Authors

Happy Friday, everybody! This is that time of the week I look forward to most. Not just because I typically open a bottle of wine by the end of the day, though I will say that is something that has suddenly perked up the little corners of my lips a tad just thinking about it. Mmm.

Oooh, but not tonight. How could I forget! I have a date with three other ladies to see a musical parody of Fifty Shades of Grey onstage here in Tampa Bay. Should be divine. The fella playing the Grey-like creature is supposed to be quite divine, too, and…ahem…blush-invoking. Sigh. It’s going to be a fun day, all-day, yes indeedy.

But the real reason for my joy is that on Fridays I get to invite a friend over to CHRIS’S CORNER, my new weekly guest blog feature. This week, I’m especially excited because I had an unexpected opportunity to meet this lovely woman last month when she visited from the Great White North to take in some fabulous spring training baseball in my fair state of Florida. Karen M. Hanks is a talented writer who recently teamed up with her friend and poet S.A. MacNeil to launch a new blog So The Story Goes, specifically designed to promote the words and people behind today’s world of independent publishing.

I asked Karen if she wouldn’t mind stopping by to share what inspired the two young women to dedicate their time and energy to championing the spirit and work of independent authors across genres. And I know when she’s done, you’ll want to skidaddle over there to learn more about independent publishing and to see who’s in the spotlight this week at their site.

You can follow Karen on Twitter here. And be sure to follow So the Story Goes on Twitter, as well.

__________________________________________________

KarenHanks

We at So The Story Goes were graciously asked by the lovely Chris Kuhn to write about the allure of the indie writing community and thought we’d start with how we came around to creating our blog, one that celebrates indie writers and why we love them so much.

Both of us are writers in our own fields of interest – as for me, fiction writing, and S.A. in poetry. As many of us do, we turned to Twitter as a way to share our work and connect with other writers. During times of writer’s block and other frustrations, we were simply looking to find a person or two who might like to read what we were working on and even offer support. But what we came across was a seemingly endless world of indie writers, all very friendly and all so passionate about what they did. So we decided to read one of their books. Soon, one book turned into ten, which turned into twenty, and now the list keeps growing every day. Not only were these books wonderfully written, thought-provoking and fun to read, but the authors were always so grateful when you’d tweet them a little note telling them how much you loved their work. We were hooked!

SoTheStory

As we continued our exploration through the indie world, we realized how hard these writers truly work. They take on the role of designer, publicist, and social media director, working their butts off every day to get their names out there and yet so many people are missing out on these literary gems simply because they don’t know where to find them. Thus, how the idea for So The Story Goes was born. We wanted to create a place where we could promote indie writers of all genres, somewhere indie writers could turn to when they wanted to share their latest piece. A place where, if someone was looking for something new and fresh, beyond what the bookstores sell, they could find it.

Don’t get us wrong – we still love reading books by well-established, big five published authors and would enthusiastically recommend their books, as well. One of our favourite Canadian writers, Sylvain Reynard, has recently had his books picked up by Berkeley. But his stories started out as Twilight fan fiction that gained great momentum thanks to readers that believed in his writing. And through his success, he has always maintained a connection with his fans, always gracious in his interactions with them. It’s this connection and camaraderie that make the indie community such a wonderful place to be. If we can help an indie writer succeed by building their fan base, that’s fantastic. But if we can open a reader’s eyes to a new writer they may never have heard of otherwise, that’s even better!

So The Story Goes features weekly book recommendations, poetry installments, and exclusive interviews and excerpts by indie writers from all over the world. You can find us at www.indielitgems.wordpress.com

Latest News about THE MUSE UNLOCKED and Book Teasers Roundup

Is it really Thursday already?

Oh my.

This week has been a blur in every sense of the word.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-depressed-young-woman-sitting-chair-image17413285

I won’t keep you long. Your day is almost over. For some of my friends on the other side of a big pool of Atlantic water, the evening’s already winding down.

I get that. I too am ready to call it a day. Except for that big pile of work sitting on my desk. Maybe if I just go in the other room and sit elsewhere I can casually forget about it.

Yeah. I know. That doesn’t really work. Not for long, at any rate.

I have some updates on the book front to share with you, as I continue to gear up for a JUNE 2013 release of my first book, a contemporary romance novel THE MUSE UNLOCKED.

I have a final cover… oooooooh! Now it’s just a matter of time and manner to unveil. I’m whipping up a little plan and hope to have that to share with you soon. Covers take time – finding just the right image, the right feel to convey what this book is all about, and this one didn’t veer off that usual path but now that it is done, I can tell you: I am quite excited about it and can’t wait to show you the final design!!

Ooh, and I’m hearing some lovely exclamations coming from my editor’s office, so this could be encouraging. She’s already indicated that she had a hard time focusing on proofing during one of the scenes because she – ahem – got distracted in the moment. That sounds promising to me! 😉 And all a writer can ever ask for! I should be able to do any clean up for the book over the next week or two, and make it available to you as an e-book by late May or June 1 as planned. Fingers crossed!!

And I’m very excited that I get to meet tomorrow with a wonderful person who is going to help me figure out the best way to share Cate and Oliver with the world, and there will be many cool things to tell you about happening over the next few months so stay tuned for all of that news as it becomes available.

I’ve had a few people ask me about book teasers. Some missed my earlier blogs during which I shared four different snippets from the book over the course of last month and this month.

So to make it more convenient,  I thought I’d share those links here again so you can go right to the blogs easily and scroll down to check out the teasers if you haven’t already. May is nearly here and something tells me that I may wish to share a little something else with my friends…more on that to come!

 

BOOK TEASERS FOR THE MUSE UNLOCKED

Teaser #1 – Introducing…Oliver and Cate

Teaser #2 – …Another Book Teaser for You

Teaser #3 – Big Cheers, Small Victories and Book Teasers

Teaser #4 – Overjoyed…Spilling Over (Teeny-Tiny Itsy-Bitsy Excerpt)

Tomorrow, I’m excited to invite another talented guest blogger to take the keys and drive this spaceship for the day as my special guest as part of CHRIS’S CORNER. This week, we’re celebrating…”them.” You know ’em. The wild ones, the rebels, the ones who feel it necessary to go it alone with an independent streak running down their back.

The Indie Author. Mmm-mmm-mmm. My new genus species that I myself have recently adopted!

You won’t want to miss it. Have a good night, folks. Settle in, put your feet up, catch up on some blogs, check out those teasers for some titillating moments and we’ll talk again…tomorrow.

Happy reading!
ck

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Kim Jorgensen Gane: The Judy Blume Project (Part 2)

Yesterday, I handed the reins of my blog over to blogger and writer Dana Talusani as part of my Friday guest blogger feature CHRIS’S CORNER. She and her colleague Kim Jorgensen Gane have launched an ambitious endeavor to capture the widespread love and adoration of female readers everywhere across generations for the soothing words and life lessons so gently and thoughtfully doled out by young adult author Judy Blume. Their plan to collect this positive feedback and put it into a lovingly wrapped anthology of heartfelt gratitude is called The Judy Blume Project.

In Part 1, Dana talked about what led to the evolution of the Project. Today in part 2 of this week’s guest blog, Kim picks up with the story and shares what kind of support and feedback have been received so far and how readers can potentially participate in the special anthology tribute.

You can also follow Kim on Twitter here.

__________________________________________________

KimJorgensenGane

It took six days. And the Judy Blume Project was born, and we’ve had some wonderful support from people like Chris, in offering us this opportunity to be guests on her blog and wax poetic about our delicious collaboration.  We had a fantastic break from editor, Heather Clisby, of @BlogHerLife with the recent feature of Kim’s post on the CALL FOR SUBMISSION. 

And why has our little #JudyBlumeProject resonated with people?  Because Judy Blume has impacted the lives of so many angst-ridden tween and teenage souls out there, and the soul never forgets.

We remember how Judy helped us deal with puberty and confusion in ways that made us feel like we were neither crazy nor abnormal.  We vividly remember that Judy helped us understand our raging hormones, first love, how fleeting it is and the fact that it was perfectly reasonable for that to be the case, and what to expect when “Ralph” made his first appearance.  Judy helped some readers deal with the loss of someone close and very special to them, and how many different emotions are awakened and that those feelings are perfectly acceptable.

Most importantly, we remember Judy’s unfailing honesty in the face of just about any experience, and the fact that she didn’t talk to us like we were kids.  Like the favorite aunt that slips you Boones Farm Strawberry Hill for the first time, and holds your hair when your puke smells of the putridly sweet stuff, Judy Blume listened and was there any time you could smuggle a flashlight beneath the covers—honesty without the side of judgment.

Chances are if you’re reading this, you feel the same way.  There is no wrong answer, there is nothing too poignant or too horrific or too funny to share with us about your memories of the works of Judy Blume, and how they impacted you, rescued you, saved your sanity, or made you laugh.

So here’s what you need to do:

1. Write the damn thing! (Around 500 words, but we’re not picky.)

2. Grab our cute little badge from Dana (source code is listed below this #2 entry), apply that and the links to either or both Kim’s or Dana’s CALL FOR SUBMISSION posts (this is so that all posts are cohesive and recognizable, and of course so that your friends and followers can find us and participate as well—the more the merrier!).

center><a href=”http://thekitchwitch.com/2013/03/the-judy-blume-project-update/“><img border=”0″ src=”http://thekitchwitch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/blume-button.jpg“/></a></center>

3. Post it to your blog (if you have one, if you don’t, email it to either Kim or to Dana).

4. Post the link for YOUR #JudyBlumeProject blog post/submission to OUR Facebook page.

5. Tweet, retweet and promote the crap out of it on Facebook, too (using the #JudyBlumeProject hash tag, @thekitchwitch and @KimJGaneWCPosse—we want to TREND on Twitter), and implore your followers and friends to join in the fun. Persuade them that they do NOT have to be a writer to participate! They need only have a vivid memory of and love for Judy.

6. SUBMISSIONS are OPEN THROUGH THE END OF JUNE 2013…but please don’t make us wait that long!

7. Selected submissions may be subject to light editing, and participants can expect to be contacted sometime in July as to whether their piece will be included in the finished anthology. For some, this could be a first official author credit!

 

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Dana Talusani: The Judy Blume Project (Part 1)

Last week, I launched a new #FollowFriday-inspired feature called CHRIS’S CORNER. Every Friday, I ceremoniously hand over control of my blog to a special guest whom I feel has a message or expertise of interest to my readers and blog subscribers. In the inaugural edition, author and blogger Carrie Bailey of Peevish Penman introduced herself and shared wonderful advice on what to expect if given the responsibility of being a guest blogger. Seemed an appropriate enough topic, and one met with enthusiasm from readers.

Today, I’m excited to touch upon a very different subject— the impact and legacy that one woman’s work can have on generation after generation of women of all ages, ethnicities, social backgrounds and geographic locations. (No, this blog is not about E.L. James.) Her name is Judy Blume and for most women ages 18 to 50, she has served in any number of prestigious roles, from second mama or big sis to guide, counselor or friend. Her books have reached many of us at a time when trying to understand what was going on within our minds, our hearts and especially our bodies was far more difficult to comprehend than any subject in grade school.

I recently came upon two thoughtful and witty writers who learned of just how far-reaching Blume’s impact has extended and an intriguing and global endeavor they’ve taken on to capture that impact in one loving, affectionate anthology, a love letter of sorts, to an author who has left an indelible impression.

It’s called The Judy Blume Project, and the women behind it are bloggers and writers Dana Talusani and Kim Jorgensen Gane. I even blogged about my discovery of the project earlier in the year. I asked them if they would share the story of how the project evolved and what my friends here reading this blog can possibly do to take part, should they feel a special kinship with Ms. Blume and her legion of fans worldwide.

Here in Part 1, Dana shares the impetus behind the Project. Tomorrow, Kim will share in Part 2 exactly what you can do for a potential opportunity to participate.

You can also follow Dana on Twitter here.

 __________________________________________________

DanaTalusani

On a warm evening last September, I failed my ten-year old daughter.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve made mistakes a-plenty since the day she was born—but somehow it always shocks me, this coming up short.

I should have been more present, more prepared. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared on the morning when she shyly asked me to shave her underarms. I wasn’t prepared to discover that there was hair sprouting in other places, too. I wasn’t prepared to see the stretch marks—red, angry tiger stripes—on her budding breasts. I thought I had so much more time.

True, I’d bought her 3 cute sports bras last year and stealthily placed American Girl: The Care and Keeping of You on her nightstand, but for puberty to swoop down and snatch my daughter in her vicious, whirlwind talons seemingly overnight?  Seven kinds of wrong.

I couldn’t decide how to feel…angry or proud or panicked or cheated or sentimental. Turns out, it was all of those things.

So on a September evening, I sat next to my daughter on the front porch, grasping for my bearings, my breath, my words. I didn’t know an elegant way to explain the mechanics of things to a ten-year old and I didn’t expect to bungle it so badly. I didn’t understand that I needed to be okay with her growing up before talking to her about growing up.

She kept her gaze firmly focused on the rabbits scampering in our front yard, squared her jaw,  jiggled her legs staccato-fashion, and did not want to hold my hand.

It hurt when she didn’t want to hold my hand because I really, really wanted to hold hers.

Instead, the hand that I coveted went militantly into the air.

“Mom. Mom. Just stop talking. STOP. Stop talking, okay? I’d rather read about it in the book.”

So I let her go, my little rabbit, back inside to safe territory. I remained on the porch, dug my fingers into my scalp and wept a little. I wept and thought, “Dammit, where is Judy Blume when you need her?”

At that moment, I desperately wanted Judy sitting next to me on that porch, extending her hand. She’d know how to make this all better.

Judy Blume:  Surrogate mother of my generation.  Sparing no detail, she explained the weirdo stuff happening to my body— stuff that I was mortified to broach with my own mother. She made me not so frantic about the roaring in my head and in my heart. She gave me a compass when I was convinced I was lost in the woods. And here I was, a grown woman, fumbling through the woods again; needing guidance.

It took me a few days to lick my wounds before I could write about failing my daughter.  It was a hard and humbling piece to write, and I wrestled with myself before hitting “publish.”  But I did.

I hit publish because it wasn’t just a piece about puberty suckage and my parental failure. It was also a love letter of sorts; a love letter to a woman who meant so much to me in those tender, thundering years. I thought Judy deserved that kind of tribute.

Turns out, a lot of other women agreed. A lot. Almost as soon as I hit that publish button, comments and emails and texts came tumbling in. From women of many nations, of many faiths, of many colors. Women raising their hands in a collective roar of “Me too! Me too! She meant so much….”

I wasn’t necessarily surprised that Judy Blume shaped many women, but I was surprised at the willingness of women to respond and open themselves—many of them women who didn’t know whodahell I was or whatdahell my blog was about or wheredaheck to find me. But it didn’t matter, because none of these women were strangers. We were all connected by the Sisterhood of Judy.

One of these unknown sisters read through the responses/comments on my post and said something to the effect of: “Wouldn’t it be great if *someone* brought all of these voices together? Maybe in anthology form? GOOD LUCK !”

 

Thought #1: Who is this chick?

Thought #2: She is clearly mentally unstable or at least teetering on the ledge, because this idea is crazy.

Thought #3: But what if?

So I emailed Probably Weirdo Crazy Lady.

She responded:

#1. I am Kim and I am a mom and writer who lives in Michigan.

#2. I am only a little mentally unstable. I am a mom, after all. But isn’t life a little richer with a bit of crazy?

#3. What if, indeed. You are onto something here. You should go with it.

Email to Kim: Umm, I don’t think you understand. I am a nervous small dog of a person and just the idea of something this big makes me crackerjackbatshitcrazy.

Email to Dana: I like small dogs. Plus, I am more of a Saint Bernard kind of person, so I can bring you rescue whiskey and carry you on my back down the mountain if you pop crackerjacks.

Email to Kim: Dude, this is not something I can do. I’m a quitter. I am afraid of everything.

Email to Dana: Didn’t you just share a parental  fail on the Internet? You’re not as afraid as you think. This is going to go somewhere. Do it.

Email to Kim: Look man, I’m not going down alone. If I’m gonna fail, I’m taking you with me.

Email to Dana: Let’s Go.

*Some woman* on the internet who just so happened to read my blog and who firmly believes in helping other women to find their voices, their confidence, their bliss and to recognize their true potential, whom I’d never met or talked to in my life, offered her hand and strangely, I found that one hand is sometimes all you need.

One hand. One matchstick can set a fire. 

It took six days. And the Judy Blume Project was born.

 __________________________________________________

…to be continued tomorrow with Part 2 and how you can get involved with The Judy Blume Project. Stay tuned!

Happy reading!
ck