I am happy to announce the debut of my first published book, LEAVING-ONE WOMAN’S STORY OF VERBAL ABUSE.
It’s taken a long time to get my memoir out there in the land of so many other books. First, I had to live half my life; then I had to leave a long marriage; then I had to…well you’ll have to read the book to find out. I had a friend, sort of a friend. Every time I’d see him the first thing he said was, “So where is your book? Isn’t it published yet?”
The questions were delivered with a wry smile. After a while my other friends politely stopped asking me about my book or maybe they forgot I was writing one, but not Henry(not his real name.) At one point Henry said to me, “Tell you what, When you have your ‘book in hand’, I will personally go out and sell bunches of them for you.”
Now Henry said this with a kind of a twinkle in his eyes, but not a Santa Claus twinkle, if you know what I mean. Then, this past March I opened my door to a box from Amazon sitting on my porch. For me this is not an unusual occurrence. In fact, the name Amazon could be easily turned into a verb, as in,”Have I amazoned today?”
Except this box was filled with 5 copies of my newly published book, LEAVING-ONE WOMAN’S STORY OF VERBAL ABUSE. I opened the box, held my book in my hands and stared at it. I sat down in a soft chair in my living room and stared out the window. The sun filtered through the pink blossoms of the pear trees of a southern California March spring. I opened the book, like I’ve opened many, many books over the years-from the library of my childhood in the little burb of Narberth, Pennsylvania where I can still hear the timber of the white-haired librarian’s voice as she answered the phone, “Narberth Community Library, can I help you?” to the massive, glorious Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. How many libraries and bookstores have I frequented and how many books have I been drawn to? How many books have I read over the years? How many books have I loved and learned from? Reading books has changed my life. But at the moment I held a book in my hands that I wrote it felt surreal. But it also felt I’d come home to myself.
What does it mean to “come home to yourself”?
It means that we often get lost out in the big world. There are so many things to do, so many people to please, so many everyday errands that fill up a schedule and somehow the real-you get lost out there.You could choose to hole up in your house all day and simply do nothing. Doing nothing once in awhile can be a good strategy. But often that nothing means walking back and forth with all the things that you don’t like about your life and reliving them over and over.
When my father would see me moping around the house he’d say, “Go run around the block and blow the stink off.”
That could work too. But you could stay inside and, guess what? Read a book! Why? Because good books are filled with ideas, and stories about things that real people do, or fictional people.These characters share their bad times and good times and in-between-times with you.Then one of their ideas or frustrations connects with you or hits some creative nerve that zaps you awake. And once so zapped, your mind jumps out of the going-around-in -the-circle mode and into a delicious CREATIVE-ONLY-YOU-MODE. And that’s when you come home to yourself.For me when this happens suddenly bursts of ideas start to flow. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard these ideas over and over from other people. With you, they will be different because each of us is unique and different. There is only one you in the universe. And if you keep trying to be someone else or pleasing or placating another out of fear about your own ability or fear about the way a partner or lover or friend will respond, then you are giving away your beautiful self. And that is a tragedy. And it’s not just you that looses. It’s everyone else in this big world.
I know a lot about this because I was so bad at being myself for such a long time. When I held the book I wrote in my hands, after the initial surrealism, I started to read it. I had been through so may versions of my story, so many re-writes, so many edits and so many, many tears. My tears, to loosely borrow a phrase from the famous Leonard Cohen were 100,000 tears deep. At one point the well dried up, because I got so tired of my “old story.”
For the millionth time I started reading Chapter 1 in my cozy chair in my living room and half-way through the Chapter I started to cry. But I knew in that moment my tears were not for the character-I-once-was. That version of me no longer exists. The tears were compassion for someone I don’t know who is going through similar pain as I once did. This book is for all those I haven’t yet met and maybe never will. So I’ll say hello to all of you out there. Read this book if you believe it might help you in your situation and share this book with those you believe it might benefit. Books do have the power to change lives.
As for Henry, I don’t know what happened to him. He’s nowhere to be found. But if you do see Henry, or a Mary, or a Bob, or a Matilda, please say this to them, “Marguerite has a ‘BOOK-IN-HAND’ and she would like you to read it. It might just change your life or someone else’s. And I know where you can get it.”
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Be kind to yourself. And Live Your Best life!
Oh, and click on the Amazon link to buy my book because, you know, Henry is nowhere to be found!