Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Battered Hope - A Memoir to Remember

When my daughter turned 16, she went on a trip for fourteen days and left me with her new puppy, a miniature Dachshund. This little guy named Louis Vuitton was one intelligent dog. I made notes of his escapades and took pictures during this two week stay.



One evening my husband and I were in the living room and heard an awful commotion upstairs in my daughter's bedroom. Then the clunk-clunking of something being dragged down the stairs. Here was this little six-month-old pup bringing his carrier (Louis Vuitton carrier, of course) down the stairs. When he got to the living room, he proceeded to run back up and one by one brought the necessary items for his trip to find his mom. He brought his dish, ball, leash, blanket, teddy and sweater. We sat in awe and watched this unfold and were thoroughly entertained. When he completed his packing, he jumped inside and with great difficulty began to pull the zipper closed. That was one of the most enjoyable evenings we ever spent.

A Dog that answers the telephone??

Louie liked to answer the telephone and was contracted by Fido because as soon as the phone would ring, he would run to it, knock it off the hook and bark into the receiver. He was never taught any tricks – he had plenty of them up his own sleeve. Of course, when Fido was there, he froze and that was the end of that.

That Christmas, I published “Louis Vuitton's Personal Journal of His Vacation with Grandma.” When my daughter read it, she laughed and cried and said it was the best present ever.

Mom, You MUST write your story

The following year she began a campaign of encouraging me to write my memoir.  No matter what excuse I gave her, she kept hounding me until I promised her I would. Thus began my therapeutic journey to places I never wanted to revisit. She kept insisting that the traumatic life I lived would be an encouragement to so many people who felt hopeless and she would not allow me to stop writing. She kept reminding me that there were many people who needed to know that if this woman made it, there was hope for them as well.  Finally, just to shut her up, I completed it and launched my memoir a few months ago.

My life divided into two parts - pre and post memoir

What if I never wrote my memoir? It seems like my life is divided into two parts. I will call the first part, Pre-Memoir. Pushing the button and sending my manuscript to the publisher was such a major step. I was excited, even elated that ten years of hard work was finally completed. My book was ready to fly off the shelves.

Then came the months of working on the cover, the back cover, the forward and acknowledge pages – this was more work than writing the book. Why did this have to be so difficult? Alas, finally it was done and ready for print.

When the day arrived and I opened the box containing all those beautiful books that represented my life in 288 pages....well, it was a bit much to take. I was an author. I published a book. Now, my life would be literally, an open book, and totally exposed. I got scared. Maybe I shouldn't have done it.

There were so many hardships, so much pain and so many disappointments. Dredging up all that mess was the first step and then putting pen to paper and actually writing about it was quite another. But, and this is a very big but, I had no idea what was going to happen when it actually was in print for the world to read. The questions were non-stop. What if no one liked it? What if no one bought it? What if? Now I was in Post-Memoir from where I could never return.

Worth every bit of the hard work

My fears were short-lived as the reviews started coming in. I honestly had no idea it was that compelling of a story. After all, it was just my life but most of the reviewers said that they could not put it down, literally. They had to finish it to be sure I survived. Another set of reviewers were encouraged to know that no matter what you go through, if I made it, they could as well.  I have had people from all over the globe thank me for sharing, for encouraging and giving them hope in hopeless situations.

What I never realized was that the work involved in the Post-Memoir stage is much greater than the Pre-Memoir one. I am working much harder at promotion than I ever did at writing. 

Up to a few months ago, I knew diddily-squat about social media other than face book was a place to communicate with friends.  I thought Twitter was something you did when you got excited.  Google just plain scared me and Google plus sounded horrifying.  Now, these are part of my day, every day, day in and day out, all day and all night.....does it ever end?

I keep researching, learning and trying to understand and implement all the suggestions.  It is more than a bit overwhelming, but then I remember why I did this in the first place and I know I will continue to persevere and complete what I have started.

Battered Hope is available to purchase in both paperback and ebook-- click here.


I am sure it will eventually balance out or am I living in a dream world?  Can anyone out there relate?
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