In 1992, I published my first book. It was called Altared States: Surviving the Engagement. I was 28 years old. The book was excerpted in Cosmo magazine and Brides, and I was invited to write an Op-Ed for The New York Times. It was a heady time.
I did not know in 1992 that I would go on to write 7 more books in 3 genres or that I would one day start a book coaching business. I did not know that my relationship with my new husband would be as rich and sustaining and joyful as it has been. I did not know that I would have two girls, or what kind of a mother I would be, or how our lives would look in the future.
A few months ago, my oldest daughter got engaged to be married to a wonderful man she has been dating for five years. There was a sweet surprise, a ring, a promise — all the hope of a shared life with all the same not-knowing.
I took a trip to see my newly engaged child and we had fancy cocktails and we sat under a big quilt and looked at wedding dresses online. I wrote a card of congratulations that I hoped conveyed all my beliefs about how wonderful a good marriage can be.
Two days ago, my newly engaged child texted me: “Do you have a copy of the book you wrote about getting married? It might be fun for me to read it.”
I laughed out loud. I had completely forgotten that I had written this book. I had completely missed the opportunity to give her the most perfect gift.
I went to the storage unit where there are a number of boxes of books stashed from my recent move and dug out a copy of Altared States. It is right now sitting on the table in front of me, waiting to be wrapped and sent.
I have not cracked it open to see what I wrote. I have a general memory of it, of course, but not many specifics. So in a few days, this book — this thing I wrote before this child even existed — will be in my child’s hands. She will be invited into the experience of what her mother was thinking and feeling at the exact same time of life that she now finds herself in.
It feels a little like being in an Escher painting — the stairs circling around onto each other in some sort of weird time travel.
It feels like being on a rollercoaster about to plunge off the top — because what if the person she greets in those pages is somehow different than the person she believes me to be?
It feels like validation for the way I have spent my life — as a reader and a writer and a person who helps other writers bring their ideas to fruition. Because what could be a more powerful offering to give to your child — or a stranger you might never meet — than the chance to peer into someone else’s soul?
Jennie Nash started Author Accelerator because she believes that one-on-one coaching is the best way to help writers bring their books to life. She’s seen it work again and again for writers at every stage of the writing process and at every stage of their writing careers.
Book coaches give editorial feedback, but they also motivate and inspire, and give you the support you need to stop making excuses and get the work done.
Learn more about Author Accelerator and book coaching at authoraccelerator.com
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