Sunday, January 31, 2010

So.......this is a rejection?

Just heard back from a major publisher. I have submitted mostly to agents, but this publisher was open to queries from new authors, so I pulled the trigger, so to speak. Here's the start of her reply, "Clearly, this will be a very moving and helpful book. Readers will find something useful, comforting and profound for their own dealings with grief."

Then it closed with, "No thanks, not for us." Makes perfect sense.

The quest continues.

On a more positive note, another publisher, (who will now be known as Mr. T), called last week. We will teleconference (yes, it's a verb!), a week from Tuesday. I expected to be hearing more from agents, but the more I learn about this business, the less I understand. I'll just keep collecting quotes, watching them develop into sturdy story-piles. Memories on top of memories, just waiting to be.....accepted.

Friday, January 29, 2010


When our kids were very young, we didn't leave them very often. When we did, we chose their sitter carefully and stuck with them. One of these special people was a girl named Emily. Her little sisters were in preschool with our daughter, and we were friends with her family. It was a perfect match.

One summer day between "double day" workouts, Emily was killed in a terrible car accident. She was one of those kids everybody loved, and our community was stunned. I remember moms at the store in our small town, walking like zombies, hugging each other wordlessly. What was there to say? It made no sense. Our beautiful, talented, hilarious Emily. Gone.

Her family, while devastated, amazed us all. They somehow managed to survive. That in itself is incredible, but they did so much more. They celebrated Emily's memory in many ways. She was a gifted athlete, so they helped girls go to sports camp. Emily's older sister wrote a moving article about her in a running magazine. Her parents honor her every time they reach out to other parents. Her father Sam writes, "I feel that as someone who has experienced the loss of a child, that I have a responsibility to call and talk to friends or aquaintances that have experienced similar loss. For me, It is just making myself available to talk, but not "forcing" myself on them. I like to call on the anniversary of the death to let them know that I am thinking of their lost child and them. My biggest fear is people forgetting how wonderful a person Emily was."

We will never forget Emily. Shortly after she died, we moved to another state. Her mom graciously sent us a picture of her with her little sisters and my daughter. It hangs on our wall, and people often ask who is that beautiful girl? We tell them all about her.

Who do you miss? How do you honor their memory? What will you do to make sure no one forgets?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank you

I want to thank everyone who has sent in quotes since I started this blog a few days ago. I appreciate them all, and know each one will resonate with someone who reads it and feels a little less alone.

In the past three days, contributors have covered the losses of parents, pregnancy, children, and a woman whose husband died two weeks after their wedding. Your bravery and willingness to share your thoughts about your grief is humbling, to say the least. I'm struck by how often people thank me for giving them an opportunity to share their story. My greatest fear in asking anyone for a quote is coming across as exploitive, so it always comes as a great relief to hear how discussing their loved one's death has helped them heal.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's a Book! (Well, More Like a Book Baby, But It's Getting There)

It's official- things are getting serious here in BookLand. I'm having grown-uppy meetings with literary types and getting submissions from some very fancy people. You know, the kind with publicists, managers, agents and of course, stylists. Yes, that kind. The kind that sell books.

The hope is that all this important-feeling activity will lead to getting published and beginning the real work- finishing and marketing the book!

The fact that you're reading this means one of two things- you're either my friend or have suffered a loss. Maybe both. Either way, I welcome you. I may approach death with more humor than most, but I assure you it's not something I take lightly. When I was grieving the deaths of my parents (still am, really), I found laughter to be essential. That's one of the reasons I started this project. It's not only okay to laugh at some of the unavoidable gaffes committed by well-meaning friends, it'll keep you sane. The other reason was the total absence of books like this. Believe me, I looked. Hard. There were religious resources, guides for widows, even one about pet loss, but nothing like The Dos and Don'ts of Grief (The Good, the Bad, and the Incredibly Stupid Things People Do When Someone Dies).

The books on death and mourning I did buy were impossible for me to absorb at the time. This was mostly due to my state of mind. I just couldn't concentrate. I couldn't follow a movie plot or get past the first paragraph of anything in the newspaper. Hell, I couldn't even get through a recipe. That's why The Dos and Don'ts is presented in blurb form. Easily digestable quotes and sidebars. Perfect for the those suffering from grief-induced ADD. A place to find what worked for others, ways to pay tribute, what never to say, and, yes, the incredibly stupid mistakes made by those were only trying to help.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to send in your own experiences. Have you lost someone close to you? Do you have something you do for those who have had a death in their family? Did you say or do something at a funeral that still makes you cringe? I want to hear about it. ALL about it.


When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-