Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Can Make Life

On Monday, April 23, I Can Make Life was finally launched, after many months and a very long journey!

When I chose April 23 as the launch date, I was thinking about reasonable timelines, and the fact that 23 has always been my favourite number (I'm funny that way). I didn't realize that the date also coincided with National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW); I only realized it when I came across a blog called Infertile Myrtle. The discovery of Ms. Megan Carlson's blog was auspicious for me and my book, as after one quick email, my book was being promoted on her site with a giveaway. Just like that!

On the eve of April 22, Ginger Deverell, the ever-patient, calm, savvy, creative and talented designer worked with me late into the night to make final changes to the acknowledgements. I uploaded the book before leaving her house, and then spent April 23 on a much-deserved retreat to Bowen Island with Ginger - a day to get away, feel calm, aligned, free of responsibility, and open to whatever the day held for us. It was a great day; I felt connected, in tune, and harmonious with everything around me. I am a highly sensitive, open-hearted person, but I haven't felt myself that open, spiritually, in a long time. It felt like everything anyone said was directed straight into my soul. It was moving, beautiful, and positive - in short, it felt like everything in the universe was whispering to me that at this time, I am on the right path.

I hope one part of being on the right path will manifest with the reception of this book. A slow burner, maybe? I don't have specific hopes for it, beyond my hope that it reaches the audience that needs it, one way or another, year after year. I don't have a detailed marketing plan, or the resources of time or money to implement one if I did, but hope that word of mouth will be strong enough to support its journey.

This book was never intended to be a money maker, but I hope it does open some doors as it makes its way through the world. As I wrote in the acknowledgements, my greatest hope is that it provides the women who need it with a sense of peace at the end of the journey I invite the reader to take with me - through the medical appointments, the grave self-doubt, the anger, the intensity of loss, and the deep joy of, at last, a viable pregnancy, and a beautiful, gentle birth.

Of course, only time will tell the path of this book as it wends its way "out there". In the meantime, I am celebrating the fact that one poem from the book, "Fish-Bird-Kite", was selected for publication in the current edition of Exhale online literary magazine (also launched on April 23). As of today, my book has been viewed 180 times at its home on, so people are finding it.

I plan to offer a few more giveaways on websites that are promoting NIAW, and I do actually have one ambitious plan after all: to do the unthinkable by writing a deconstruction of each poem as an article, poem by poem, start to finish - thirty articles in all (the first of these is called Bohemian Waxwings, and here is its deconstruction). I don't think most artists like to deconstruct the work behind a work of art, but I think it will be kind of fun to re-trace my steps and make the process public. I've been known to do crazier things in the realm of self-exposure (mostly soul-baring, nothing too racy. Yet.) It's the kind of thing I would be interested in reading if I liked an artist's work, and I suspect that other people enjoy reading about the process of art-making, too.

With my book's launch after so many years in the making, it is strange and a bit sad to let it go. I always feel that way - a slight let down after all the build up and excitement from the inception of a project to the final stage of its completion. I always feel a little...adrift...waiting for the next cycle of creation to begin. At the moment I'm in a bit of a "survival" state whereby I think of my next writing tasks as something I must do to generate income...but there are many, many more projects on my creative "to do" list.  Some of them are wildly different than I Can Make Life - some of them are intended to be literary, as this book was, but some of them are non-fiction works, and some are just for fun.

The project I feel most compelled to do now that a new creative cycle is on the horizon is one that I must do, but is likely a few months down the road to even begin. It's a tribute to my great Uncle Gabriel (for whom my son is, in part, named). He, too, was a poet - the only other one I know of in my family. Tragically, he died at the age of 23 in 1941 in a military training exercise. He had enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was killed when his plane went down over Scotland. I obtained his military records a few years ago - roughly 100 pages kept in our national Library & Archives, but freely shared when I asked. I would love to write a series of poems based on the stories my aunts and uncles tell, while also referencing my uncle's handwritten application to the RCAF, his death records, and everything else I can call up to re-create a life. The one poem of his my family has was sent back to Gabriel's mother in Canada after his death, and uncannily described his last flight. I hope my approach to a collection of poems can give my Uncle Gab a new life, in poetry, that he didn't get the chance to write himself.

And now that I think of it, that is one of the reasons I love to write so much.

I can make life.