I recently read a lovely book by Jo Knowles. Okay, two. But one of them grabbed me so hard around the heart that when it came time to review it, well, I could only come up with lame words. See You at Harry’s is a gem and a jewel that is still with me months after I read it. Knowles recently won a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for a book I haven’t read, and now I know I must get Pearl. It’s available on Amazon, in print and for your Kindle, but even better, it’s available here, or here, or even here .
“Who are the writers in your life who help you through the tough and triumphant times?”
Jo posted her thank you to SCBWI, and in her usual quiet fashion, she got me thinking, and got me picking up my pen. The question above was her writing prompt for the day, and I’ll answer it here.
Who are they? They might be the authors online who keep on cheering each other – and me – on when something is stuck. Just reading about the struggles of others helps, because then I know for sure that I’m not alone.
My inspiration might come from author interviews or talks. It helps me feel less alone when I listen to authors talk about their own process, what works and what doesn’t. Talking with authors I know in person is energizing! I have many Twitter buddies, too, who will cheer virtually during a writing sprint, or cajole through a dry patch, or rejoice at a revelation about a character. These writers help me through.
But first and forever, even though he’s gone now, my Dad is the one who brought me to this place I stand as a writer. It took me 26 years to take my first book from therapy writing, begun 6 months after my Mom died, to publication. I spent time in college writing its bones. I put it away when that phase of grieving was done. I picked it up 10 or so years later, when our daughter was 7 or 8, and worked on it for a year, pulling it together, finally feeling in the end that it was really worth something.
My Dad was retired and writing himself then, and I shared it with him. He was busy but appreciative and encouraging. I put it away again, finished with it for awhile, and then suddenly, the time seemed right. Dad had started his publishing business. One day, he asked me about “that book” I had been writing. So I blew off the dust bunnies and sent it to him again.
He took it – and most importantly me – in hand, guiding, pushing, cajoling, commiserating. He insisted I make it good, and make it mine, a work of art and passion. He said it was ready, and cheered when I said it needed to wait a bit while I illustrated it with sketches. Then he said, when it was finished, that it was a beautiful thing.
It wouldn’t have been, without him, and, as he always knew, without me. Thanks, Dad.