Saturday, January 4, 2014

I'll always shoot for the stars...

When I first began to seriously consider publishing a book of poetry, I knew nothing at all. I didn’t have my own computer, let alone know anything about formatting. I knew how to type, how to use a keyboard and make a digital file. That was it.

Everyday, or every other day at the very least, I walked the couple of blocks to the library to use the computer lab. I sometimes had to use a cane, but at that time my legs had enough strength to do the walk. I had a difficult period between 2003 and 2006 with mobility. By mid-2006, I was doing pretty good again and in 2009 published my very first poetry books, Spectrum and Origins. I was 50.

Everyday, down to the library. Everyday asking the tech support there how to do stuff. Everyday, learning. My first attempt at publishing bombed big time, because I still didn’t know enough about formatting dimensions. Did I ever learn after that experience. Thankfully, I was only out of the cost of a proof or two. Something to remember. Always get a hard copy proof before ordering a set of books. I began my self-publishing learning experience in 2008. It took me a year to complete my goal. I was that determined. It was worth it. Every difficulty…worth it. Not one regret self-publishing.

In 2009 I received my own computer. Oh, yeah…holy wow…

I endured through another mobility setback between late 2009-2010. But in 2011 had published my third book of poetry, Corundum.

Most recently, I’ve published a fourth book, Amaranthine. While I’m proud of being able to accomplish all my goals in publishing, this is the poetry book I am most proud of. I’ve been in recovery and this was a crucial goal to meet. I was also able to use a painting I did (Circle of Light) for the cover. I couldn’t have accomplished this without regaining a sense of self-identity, confidence, and self-worth. Staying creative has helped - and is continuing to help with - my recovery. Creativity helped me to stay whole and connected to that mustard seed, a seed that had been crushed and splayed and ground up beyond my own recognition.

Amaranthine was published immediately prior to a severe mobility setback, the worst I’ve had since my 2003 episodes.  But, it was published. It’s my best work. Both in the process of, and in meeting this goal, I’ve been able to slowly put back the pieces to my inner life. To say I’m proud of this does not mean I feel arrogant; I’m proud because of what Amaranthine has allowed me to rebuild.

I’ve not for one moment regretted the journey of self-publishing. I’ve retained control over my own work. I took the route I deemed best for me personally.  Can say that I put the time in - in spite of the challenges and hardships and frustrations - to compile, format, edit, and publish my own work. It is my work. I'll never sell out for anything, even if others don't like it. I will not annihilate who I am. I've done that too much in my life. I will remain who I am in my work.

Hell, yes…I’m proud. But most of all, I’m just plain grateful.

This is work that I would not have been able to accomplish without the tech support of JDL staff; without the gift of my computer given to me by my dear aunt; without the dedication of my wonderful mother who sometimes had to drive me to the library when I couldn’t walk the distance and who, along with my aunt, has helped me to financially meet the goals of publishing; without the help that I've received through my counselors at Recovery Tech and my longterm healthcare professionals whom I depend upon, whose help I desperately need; without that creative fuel so often generated and exchanged by Lost Word writers, and the support of other amazing authors and creative people I’ve met through this whole experience of publishing. I love you all. I'm indebted to each one of you.

There's more to come and more writing on the way.

I’ll always shoot for the stars.

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