Like many of my She Writes Press sisters, I was disappointed when the pandemic struck, partly, because my book launch event scheduled for May 20thwill likely be cancelled. I felt genuine sorrow for the people whose family members are impacted with the illness. I was shocked when I learned that a husband of a close friend of mine passed away yesterday from cancer. Recently divorced after a thirty-four-year marriage, I live alone, so sheltering in place meant that I have been isolated in ways I’m not used to. Experiencing loss is a painful reminder that life brings disappointment.
Like every other debut author, I looked forward to my book launch at Book Passage a celebrated west coast, independent bookstore where famous authors like Isabel Allende and Ann Lamott frequently make guest appearances. I imagined myself all dressed up, with a new haircut, and make-up, which I rarely wear except on special occasions. I would probably choke up as I tearfully thanked everyone present who had come to acknowledge me. I emailed everyone in advance of my reading, and even called close friends to make sure they had the date on their calendars. I dreamed the room would be filled to capacity. That was before COVID-19.
So, where does courage come in? Part of getting older means drawing from the wisdom of my years of experience. My biggest obstacle in facing loss and disappointment is me. If I can change my perception, change the way I look at the situation, I will be able to face the situation with new determination, acceptance, and gratitude.
The silver lining is here. I look in awe as Sisters have pulled together, advertising books for one another on social media platforms, and posting live videos reviewing other women’s books. The gift of this virus is community, and the way we are all interconnected to one another. We will get through this, and who knows, maybe we will be successful beyond our wildest dreams. But honestly, successful sales wasn’t all that I had in mind when I wrote my book. I wanted to have the satisfaction of knowing I finally wrote the book I promised myself that I would write since I was a child.
The fact that we are accomplished writers and have a sisterhood of She Writes Authors to applaud is cause for celebration in itself. Here’s my advice to myself, in these times of COVID 19, think small, build slowly, and accept that life brings change. Do a virtual launch. Have courage, remind myself to follow my own advice. Take heart. The last line of Finding Venerable Motheris this. When we have the courage to go forward with a truly heart, faith, forgiveness, and love are possible. I wish you all the best. May we be healthy, happy, and safe.