“I” words

When I was writing the book that became Heart Warriors, people kept telling me that it was  an “important” book.  At the time, I cringed when I heard “important,” the same way I cringe when I hear “interesting.”  To me “interesting” is often code for “confusing” or “not good enough to just say it was good.”  I do realize that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes interesting (or important) is the right label to attach to a book.  But, my gut reaction to “important,” was because of what I was reading into the word.

I started writing when I was seven-years-old, two years after I started reading.  I didn’t write anything good or even “interesting,” and certainly nothing “important” until I was twelve.  When I was twelve I wrote what, by broader standards, was a really awful poem, but by twelve-year-old standards was pretty good.  When I was fourteen, I performed similarly with a short story and a play.  By seventeen I was doing an OK job writing poetry and by my early twenties, I even had some of it published.

I never stopped writing, though I did stop trying so hard to have my work published. I was distracted by the fight for Liam’s life, and my priorities reflected my reality.  When people used “important” in reference to the unpublished  Heart Warriors,  I feared that inferred that I was one-book-wonder, a one-trick-pony, and I resented it.   I felt that that dismissed or diminished my identity and talent as an author and focused on my identity as a Heart Mom.  I know that’s silly and thin-skinned, but it was how I felt. I wasn’t just a person with a good story, I was a writer with the means to articulate the nuanced journey through Hell and back.  It just happens that it was my own journey.

Since Heart Warriors was published almost a month ago, I’ve received some letters, emails, and reviews that have made me tear up because of what it meant to other women on the same journey.  Now, hearing just how genuinely important (and the quotes are intentionally missing now) this book has been to the people who’ve read it, I finally realize that all the people who told me it was important before meant exactly what they said.

If I were not a good writer, Heart Warriors would not be as potent or as important as it is.  If I were not an authentic Heart Mom, I would not have the perception and perspective to capture the important lessons of this journey.  I am a writer. I am a heart mom.  I am both of those things and so much more.  I will write more books, and maybe some of them will be important too.  But this is my first book, and every time I get a Facebook message like the one I got today, my heart melts and my pride shines.  It really is an important book, but I had to get over myself to appreciate it.

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