At a recent book club, I was asked what my life has been like since I became a published author more than two years ago. I glossed over this frequent inquiry, as I have numerous times before with so many of my readers and with media representatives, verbalizing a quick reply to the effect that it has significantly changed. Even as I answered, I knew that I was only scratching the surface, and not being wholly honest in my response.
The truth is my life has become so dramatically different that I now intentionally seek a recurrence to normality. My family was delighted when I prepared a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for Easter this year, an activity I had not engaged in for far too long. When I launched Arriving: 1909-1919 on October 29, 2011 I had embarked upon a journey that was beyond my expectations, beyond my imagination, beyond my wildest dreams. To be perfectly frank, I sometimes feel like an astronaut alone in the infiniteness of outer space, and in the middle of the night when sleep will not come, I ask myself, “What have I done?”
Questions abound with a dominant one being why I had waited so long to pursue my literary career. Maureen, a friend and former colleague phrased her inquiry succinctly, “Why did you hide your artistic talent, and spend all those years writing prosaic curriculum!?” Perhaps, my husband’s astonishment when he began reading my Understanding Ursula trilogy which prompted him to say, “I never knew you had all that in you.” reveals how deeply I had concealed my real nature.
I wonder how many women suppress who they truly are to meet the needs of their families – their husband, children, grandchildren, and aging parents – and do not follow their own path to find their dream. In an interview with Lisa LaFlamme, prior to her becoming the head anchor of CTV National News, Barbara Goodman, the Editorial Director of Canadian Health and Lifestyle asked, “Words of wisdom to women on living their life?” Lisa’s profound response was, “Make sure it’s your life you’re living. The choices we make create the life we live. We have to embrace that.”
Still, to achieve balance between one’s own needs and the needs of others is a daily challenge. None of us live in isolation, and the quest to live life to the fullest requires the support, patience, and encouragement of those we love. From the beginning, my unbelievable journey has been a steep learning curve, a roller coaster of emotions, and a tremendous commitment of time and energy. I could never have succeeded without my family, my friends, my team, and my ever-increasing readers.
Over the course of the last two and a half years, I have met so many wonderful people, received so many awesome emails, and been the recipient of so many compliments that I have reached the decision to peruse my Understanding Ursula trilogy from the perspective of a first-time reader.
I love the direction that my life has taken; I believe it is my destiny. I am ever learning how to keep one foot firmly on the ground while soaring with eagles, to find the courage to go beyond, and to live my dream. To quote Robert Louis Stevenson, “To be what we are and to become what we are capable of being is the only end of life.”