Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What WERE we thinking?

One day after Linea's graduation we received an offer from a major book publisher for our book. WOW!! We were and still are ecstatic! First came the news from our agent that the editor wanted to talk to us. Two working days later we received an offer from the publisher and after a couple of days of back and forth with our agent we accepted it. We were both completely excited and the whole thing seemed impossibly surreal. The book proposal went into submission the week of June 1st and we received the offer the next week. Our agent told us the speed of this was quite unbelievable particularly in this current market but we attribute it to her ability to push us further and further with a better, more concise and compelling proposal. The excitement continues but the first night (very late into the night, actually) it hit me. This is the real thing. Our book will be published. In stores and on bookshelves across the nation and perhaps beyond. What WERE we thinking? Suddenly I was insecure. The "what if's" flew like bats into my bedroom and into my worrying mind. What if we had bad reviews? What would a negative comment do to my daughter? What if my colleagues thought I was not "academic" enough by sharing a very personal memoir of a devastating illness? I hadn't had such small (what about the cover??) and long-range (what will my grandchildren think about this twenty years from now?) worries since I the births of my two daughters. Around and around my mind went until finally it settled on trust in our work, our agent, our editor and the world at large. We are committed to sharing our story with continued efforts to increasing understanding and support for people with mental illnesses and their families and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness that adds another layer of pain to these illnesses. What a journey!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dearest Daughter, A Love Letter on Your Graduation

As we approach your graduation week-end I think about all the love letters we have written each other over the years. You have written me letters from joy and pain, excitement and anguish. I have written you love letters during both the happiest and the darkest times.  How proud we were when you graduated from high school and soon left Seattle for Chicago, a scholarship in hand and a goal to complete a degree in music performance! Yes, there was fear and long, anxious talks with plenty of tears while you struggled to decide where to continue your musical studies. Depression crept around the edges of your life and sometimes moved in to flatten you but mostly you held it at bay. Once you decided on Chicago there was no stopping you. Your dad and I were astounded at your success your first year in your program. I had many opportunities to watch you perform and navigate your college, the city and your life. I felt so much pride in your independence!

The second year of college your life and ours was torn apart by an insidious and unexpected disease. It was not in "the plan", was it? After the pain of almost losing you, the fear of "what's next?" and the gradual acceptance and partnership with this new way of life, you have moved forward, taking us with you. Life changed for you and for us as you eventually changed majors and universities and continued to pile up classes in the arts, philosophy, literature, poetry, and wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Can you believe that throughout all of this we wrote a book together? You opened your heart and soul to me and soon, to the world. I learned so much writing with you. You have taught me to push outside of my comfort zone, to question my thinking, and to trust your brilliance, maturity, and wisdom.

But here is the point of my love letter. Yes, plan for your future but don't miss a single moment of today. You are truly special. You are unleashing your power on the world. Relish each moment. You are surrounded by love. Not only Mama and Popi but your fierce-loving sister and little Thomas, who's worship-love for you will only grow over the years. The two grown boys have your back and would do anything for you. We will never leave you. Yes, you are surrounded by love. You have done more in your life already than most people your age and there is so much more to come. Oh, my youngest baby, I have told you this so many times and if I could give you any gift it would be: Trust the Universe. There is a plan for you and you need do nothing but stay authentic, honest, brave and open. Love, the Mama
    Relish each and every moment in time.....