When you hold your breath long enough, it’s actually difficult to take that first swallow of air when the holding is up.
I’ve been holding my breath for a month, and on Saturday, Jan. 21, it took a while for the fresh, sweet air I gasped in to penetrate my heart and lungs.
I breathed in, you see, because the editor I’d hired in December to look over the manuscript for my book, still operating with the title More Every Day, liked what she’d read. She liked it, and dare I say, may even love it once it is final.
Margot Cleary of Westhampton, a longtime editor at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Mass., for its daily pages and Hampshire Life magazine, is the professional I chose to read the manuscript because I have tremendous respect for her work.
Having known Margot since the 1980s and worked with her on stories I wrote for the paper in the past, I knew she was particular, exacting and precise, and that was just exactly who I wanted judging whether my manuscript is a sound piece of work, as opposed to a diary of grief, say, that one should tuck in a closet and save for posterity rather than publish.
More Every Day is a memoir about meeting my late husband, Ed Godleski, under less-than-ideal circumstances and falling madly in love with him, only to lose him to cancer two years after marrying him. It is a book about the profound devastation that grief causes.
After I finished writing it, in October 2011, I sat on the book because I was afraid to hand it off to Margot. I was afraid she would hate it. So, I started holding my breath and waiting. It was safer that way.
Then finally in December 2011, my writing group friends, who have read the first third of the book, encouraged me to just do it for Pete’s sake, and I did.
Margot said the book was compelling, and she found it very raw and emotional but also moving and hopeful. I drew in breaths with each compliment as she sat in my home office. My heart was dancing.
Margot will now do a structural edit of the book, and while there’s no hard-and-fast timeline, we expect a spring or summer publication can be achieved. I plan to self-publish, using Off the Common Books in Amherst, a division of Levellers Press.
While Margot works her magic, I will focus on the name of the book. What is it?
More Every Day: A memoir of grief doesn’t strike me as a book people will want to grab off the shelf, but it captures who Ed and I were and who we remain.
I wonder if anyone has an opinion to share on this topic?
Margot asked me why I wrote the book, and my answer was threefold: Because after Ed died in September of 2010, I was pining for a book that would help me through grief. Every title I bought on amazon.com, in those days when I couldn’t even leave my bed, was academic in nature. I wanted to see someone experience grief, not read about the various stages. I wanted, and have written, a book that shows not just that one experiences denial and depression but what that looks like inside someone’s head.
I also wanted a book that would educate on grief. The loss of Ed is the first loss of my life, and I really had no idea how altering grief could be. I see people now as falling into two categories: Those who have experienced grief, and those who have not.
Finally, I wanted to offer hope, and I won’t say any more about that except to say that Margot thinks the ending is well-done.
I will continue to blog about the book until it comes out. Please pass it on. Share it. Post it on your Facebook pages. Help me choose a name, and then help me make it a book so powerful that it could become the book that one must read to grieve well.
And I will keep breathing.
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