Here I am, one short week later, with only two lonely books left unsold.
Do you notice how I wrote that in a completely calm and chill tone? Like, whatever, I don’t really care either way. Pshhh. No big deal.
Haha. Yeah. Don’t be fooled, because inside I’m beaming. Beaming. Or screaming. I guess that depends on the moment you ask, because honestly, this week has been something of a roller coaster. But I feel like a wee bit of inner personal angst was to be expected once I finally took the leap and offered my book up for sale. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t nearly as hard as shipping them all off. Which was a cakewalk in comparison to waiting to hear your thoughts. Yeah, it was definitely a week of ups and downs. In fact, I think it would have been far more surprising if I’d been able to ride out these past several days with no nervous tremors at all.
On Monday I was feeling perfectly calm, and my motto of “I did my part, God, so do with this what You will” seemed to be holding me pretty steady. Until a book officially, and physically, landed in one of your mailboxes. And then another. And another. And I realized that you reading my book was no longer simply an abstract idea, but an absolute reality. And a
little bit significant amount of self-doubt crept in, doing it’s best to make me believe that I was on the verge of swift and immediate humiliation.
But doubt is crippling, and overwhelming, and just plain…stupid. So for several days, I flat out refused to even pick up my book, afraid that if I drifted through the pages (as I’m wont to do) I would find myself suffocating in thoughts of, Damn. This is perhaps the dumbest book ever written. Ever. Instead I consoled myself with the thought that I had done the best that I could, and what more could God and Guru ask of me? And then I kept as busy as I could–mostly in the kitchen, whipping up one thing after another until I was virtually drowning in bread products. I also spent a fair amount of time (often while baking) reminding myself that God’s plan would work out just fine; actually, better than fine. And then I waited. Waited for the feedback that was sure to come, because soon enough I would know, one way or another, what you all thought.
When I considered it calmly (and logically) I realized that most of you were just going to read it. Just read it like, you know, a normal person. Not pick apart every little scene or character or line of dialogue (like I do), because you weren’t writing this book, just reading it. But when I managed to quell that one doubt with reasonable reason, my ever-ingenious ego took another route, to other people who made me far more nervous. Like two of my sweetly supportive friends who purchased the book, but also happen to be English teachers. Whose job is/was words. So my ego eagerly latched onto the thought that not only one, but two English teachers were traveling through the pages of But We Carry On, and I should definitely prepare myself for failure. It was just a tiny bit unnerving (did I fool you again with that chill, calm tone?), and wouldn’t it just figure that these two ladies were the very first to read, and the very first to offer me feedback.
Sometimes God needs to take a firm hand with me, point out my weaknesses, and then show me where I can do better. And I won’t lie, it usually hurts. But then there are the other times, the times when instead of a reprimand, it feels more like a gentle pat on the head. Like, “You did good, girl. I’m proud of you for sticking this out.” This kind of a pat isn’t painful at all; instead, it leaves me with this warm and fuzzy feeling that reminds me that making God smile is the only thing worth working for. Somehow, I managed to earn that pleased pat and soft smile, at least to start with; but more often than not, the firm hands aren’t all that far behind.
It was perfect, Melinda. I just read over two hundred pages because I needed to finish it. Admittedly it was difficult to make it through the final handful of pages through tears, though. I just loved it. Literally just put it down and need to process and sleep but needed you to know…The characters were great and relatable and I felt those emotions with them and was surprised at how much I could connect with each of them. –Kyla
My first feedback. Not sure I could have started my day with kinder words or a more gentle pat from Divine Mother. (Thank you.)
You have a lovely way with words, and I loved the backward chapter setup (loved) and time lapse characterizations. It kept me riveted… Even if there’s disagreement in topic or content, no one could deny that character development and plot analysis were spot-on… I could feel the passion throughout the book, too, within the characters and how they expressed themselves, and this moves your audience… Buuuuttttt I couldn’t help but wonder…will there be a sequel??? –Amanda
My second feedback, and yes, sometimes God is very, very good to me. (Thank you.)
I’m well aware that not everyone is going to love the story, and that’s okay; I never felt like it was my job to write a story simply for the sake of pleasing everyone. (In fact, I’ve had years of practice in learning how to accept that sometimes I will please absolutely no one.) My job was to speak my truth, and to share what is fundamentally important to me and what I think will make this world a better place. But my fear was that I’d do it in a way that sounded like…drivel. Unintelligent nonsense that no one would want to waste sixteen hard-earned dollars on. What if I took this great idea that God planted in my mind and then…wrecked it? Ugh. The thought was terrifically unsettling to me, and God understood that (and obviously had sympathy).
So, the first two people He had read my book were ones who would enjoy it, and then tell me so. Because let’s face it, the next pat might not be quite so gentle. I’m just hoping that this soft cushion will somehow make them easier to take. But if that doesn’t work, there’s always chocolate pudding, because is there anything that chocolate can’t help?
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Pit and soak the dates for at least 15 minutes. Drain and add to the food processor along with all of the other ingredients except for the water. Begin blending and while running drizzle in the water, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Continue mixing until the pudding become smooth and creamy. Refrigerate to chill.
Whipped Coconut Cream
Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Turn the can upside-down to open and pour out the liquid on top, saving the thick cream on the bottom. Spoon the cream into a chilled mixing bowl, add the sweetener and vanilla, and using a handheld beater beat the cream until light and creamy.
A dash of SweetLeaf stevia may be used in place of the maple syrup.
And that’s it for this Monday; I hope your week is a beautiful one, my friends. And if anyone is interested in reading But We Carry On, those two copies are still over there, just patiently waiting on their forever homes… (but no pressure, more are on the way!)