Hey guys! Today I feel I have come full circle. It’s surreal that I am sitting here doing a book signing at the same Barnes and Noble, where I first attended a weekly writers’ group two years before my story was published.
Back then, I’d sit with many seasoned writers and talented published authors, wondering if the day would ever come that my own dream would be fulfilled and declare: I AM AN AUTHOR!
Once a week, I’d bring 5 pages of my manuscript and make several copies (enough for 10-15 other attendees) before arriving at the group. I passed around my copies to everyone there, and someone would volunteer to read aloud. As I listened, the rest added notes and made corrections, suggestions, and/or comments on my sheets. Then it was someone else’s turn to critique. I enjoyed doing that but I couldn’t wait to take my work home and sit in front of the computer to see what–if any–changes I should make.
I’ve met some wonderful people I consider friends to this day, and received great feedback which only helped propelled me forward. Looking back, I am thankful that I didn’t give up. I took constructive criticism; I stayed the course. I kept my voice as well as my message. If I couldn’t quite convey the meaning in my sentences correctly, I welcomed suggestions. However, if someone didn’t get my meaning but added their own take instead–which meant changing the entire contents from what I initially believed how it should read–I’d reworked the sentence, paragraph, or phrase to express better what I wanted to say, or left it alone.
I believe you have to stay true to who you are. After all, it’s your story and in my case, wasn’t one of fiction. Therefore, only you can tap into your own mind filled with memories and jot down those scenes and sequels in your head. May not always be an easy feat, but oh, can be so worth it!
So for those of you who haven’t read my story, just what is the message? My message is one of hope, perseverance, and forgiveness. You don’t have to be a product of your environment and have your past dictate your future. Know that you don’t have to remain isolated or medicate yourself, nor do you need to become ashamed of your pain. You can rise above the ashes and soar to new heights bruised or scarred, and not remain broken. I believe there is healing for us all; it’s a work in progress and sometimes takes a while. But where there is life, there is hope.
The fruition of my entire journey is to hear that others are inspired.
My story, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” is currently found at your favorite online bookstore.
Here are a few photos taken at Barnes and Noble for you to enjoy. Two hours went by so quickly!
Thank you for taking part in my journey.