Addison is asleep.
We just returned from a lovely evening out with family.
It's impossible not to reflect on the coming, brand new year.
2011 sits in front of me like a blank canvas and life has thrust brightly colored markers into my hand, begging me to make my mark.
Looking at my blank canvas, almost anything seems possible. After all, 12 months is a long time.
I've arranged a new house cleaning schedule for myself. I can master that in 12 months, right?
I shared with you a very private goal for myself this year on my last post- getting my book published. I find myself shrinking back inside my very tightly wound self horrified that I actually admitted that aloud. For months I wouldn't tell more than a handful of people. Why? Because I was/am afraid. I felt like I would be laughed at. People would nod and smile but inwardly they would think "Oh sure, you're writing a book. ha."
I know that writing a book is a big undertaking (you don't write 80,000 words, query letters etc without having your eyes rather mercilessly opened). I know that I still have a long way to go on mine, but also, I have already come very far. Even my mother mentioned to me a few months back "Oh wow, I can't believe you've actually stuck with this project." Thanks for the support. (-:
But one door of opportunity after another has been opened for me along the treacherous way.
When I had been writing for only a couple of months. I looked at myself and wondered, "What am I doing?" and seriously considered just giving up. The next day, I found out that two people that I was playing my musical with were authors. One of them I carpooled with. It was amazing. I spent hours picking his brain about getting something published and I ran my book by him and he had some really great pointers/questions/suggestions.
A couple of weeks ago, I looked at my manuscript and knew that I needed someone with fiction writing experience to help me edit it. I submitted a proposal to several online editing companies to see what that would cost me. The cheapest one was $900.
I was in despair. We can't afford that right now. I didn't know what to do next, so I prayed about it. The next week, I was randomly put in contact with someone at work who used to be an editor in New York who graciously agreed to edit my book for free. (Of course if I do get it published, I will pay her, but it was amazing to me to see her take me on good faith like that.)
Those are two just small examples, but I strangely feel as though I am supposed to be doing this. I feel as though for the first time in my life I have a voice. I have something important to say.
I know that the publishing world is impossible to break into. (Believe me, I know) But I also know that I serve a big God and that He has brought me this far. If I never get it published, I will have worked through a lot of emotional issues just writing it, and I know it will be worth it.
But I also want my voice to be heard. I'm holding a bright red marker and frantically coloring the blank canvas.
You know what I started writing my book? Because I heard that roughly 80% of women who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis abort their baby. I read story after story online of women who said that it was just better to not subject their baby to a life of suffering and misery. That it was better for their families that they not be tainted by such an ugly label. That it would be easier to deal with a dead baby than a baby who would be labeled as mentally retarded.
These stories broke my heart. I looked at Addison and cried thinking about all the blessing and joy that these women are missing out on in life. Knowing what I know now, I would never look at Addison and think that my life would be better off if she died. I would be completely devastated. She is the light of my life. I love her so much it physically hurts. So many people in the world have no idea what it is really like to have a child with special needs. The vague and hurtful stereotypes mean nothing to me. They are not true.
That is why I wrote my book. This is not a book about me and Addison. This is a fiction book (a lot of it based on personal experience) that is about a mom planning to abort her baby who has an extremely high chance of having Down syndrome. After the amnio, she finds out that the baby doesn't have DS and is once again "perfect", so she doesn't abort. However, she fully intended to if the test came back positive. Something ends up happening to the baby after he is born (not going to give away the whole plot line) and he is then labeled as "mentally retarded". As you can imagine, the mom goes beserk and wonders why it was OK for her to abort her baby in utero but not OK to kill a maimed six month old. The book is called No Guarantees and is full of twists and turns, heartache and love, questioning and peace. (Just a note- this is not a Christian book. If I wrote a Christian book, that would really just be preaching to the choir.)
I want my voice to be heard. I know that this is dreaming big. I know that I don't have degrees in fiction writing. I know that I am one tiny person, rather insignificant in the world of writing. And I am rather regretting admitting my ambitious goal to so many people via this blog.
But it is out, and I really, really appreciate encouragement because every other day I tell myself that I am crazy to think that I can do this. Thank you so much to those of you who have already sent positive words my way on the last post and through fb messages. I can't even begin to tell you how much that means to me.
I am really going out on a limb here by confessing my biggest secret. But now that it is out, I guess you are going to keep me honest with my goal- Published in 2011. Also, if you happen to know any publisher or agents...I would more than appreciate a contact (-: I'm working with a couple of leads right now, but nothing definite at all, so I would appreciate any help you could offer.
Here's to big goals and dreams for 2011 coming true!