I gave a copy of my new book to my dear friend and mentor, author Jane Kirpatrick a couple months ago. She thumbed through it's pages and read the acknowlegements in the back of the book while I put the finishing touches on dinner. She walked into the kitchen and gently laid the book down on the counter and said, "I want it autographed please." "Oh, ok," I replied. "I don't have a pen." The thought had never occured to me that she would want it signed. "I do," she said, as she opened up her purse and pulled out a fancy ink pen and laid it on top of the book. "I should have known you'd have one." What do I write in a book for Jane Kirpatrick? I thought. I have known Jane for nearly 30 years, long before her first book "Homestead" but at that moment, I had celebrity-itis. I looked at my mother who was sitting at the counter, she returned my look and smiled. "Can I practice in your copy Momma?" I asked quietly. She slid her copy over in front of me. I uncapped Jane's fancy pen and thought of all the books she had signed using this very pen, then I began to write in my mothers book. The pen flowed across the page faster then my hand could move, like it had a mind of it's own. My thinking fogged and lagged behind the pen as it formed the letters on the page. I don't even remember what I wrote in my mom's book except the word "memories". I remember that word because I mispelled it and had to correct it and it looked awful. My hand shook and my normally decent penmanship looked like a grade-school boy's who'd rather be on recess then practice his cursive. I looked at my mom and pointed at my mistake. She smiled as she picked up her copy and held it lovely in her hands.
I signed Janes copy that day, but much later, after dinner. I waited until I could think of someting heartfelt to say. I don't think I mispelled any words that time but my hand still shook with nerves as I scribbled aross the page and wondered if Jane had felt this way the first time she autographed a book. Since that day, I do a practice run on scrap paper to eliminate any mispelled words and to warm up my hand and my thoughts before I try writing them down. Whatever works, right?
I recieved a message the other day from a lady who had just finished reading my new book, A Sacred Place. She wanted me to know how much she enjoyed it. She went on to state how much her husband liked it as well. "It was a really good book," she said. I was pleased to hear that. When I wrote the book, I tried to be thoughful of making it appeal to both men and women. I didn't want women to think "oh it's just another hunting story", or men to think because it's a woman's story that it's a "chick book" that wouldn't be of interest to them. Well it appears from the responses that I have received, mission accomplished. I really appreciate the comments and like to hear how my story has sparked a memory for the reader to share. Not everyone who reads this book can relate directly to my story but I'm hopeful that it will ignite a precious memory of your own.
Well I did it. I wrote a book. I know what you're saying..."so big deal, who hasn't?" I've been writing for nearly thirty years but mostly for myself. Oh I've published a few articles in monthly magazines but they were informational pieces that were facts. My book is a memoir. That's the difference, it's personal. The information gathered in my book took over 50 years to collect. My author friend Jane Kirkpatrick said that writing about personal things is like standing in front of a window with the lights on and your naked for everyone outside to see. I hadn't thought about it like that but after she told me that it scared the weebie jeebies out of me. But, too late, here I am...published.
A Sacred Place is a story of how my parents as young newly-weds followed the mule deer migration in the early 1950's to Central Oregon's high desert in search of new hunting grounds. Upon their arrival they discovered abundance then established a camp and returned each year with my fathers parents and large extended family. With eight sibblings, each with spouces and multiple children, meat was in high demand.
The story of A Sacred Place is my story. It tells how we lived each year for weeks at deer camp. I was raised along with my sister in that place. I found love, lost love, raised my daughter and suffered great loss in that place. It is my sacred place, my mountain top. It's so much more than just a place to harvest meat.
So, it's done. I published it and people have read it. So far, I'm gaining confidence as I get feedback from readers. They like it. They like my stories. We all have stories that we can share with others. My main goal in writing this book wasn't to become famous or make a fortune on it's sales (however that would be nice), it was to preserve my family history. It defines who I am. I started writing it 10 years ago after my fathers death. It was therapeutic. I thoroughly enjoyed re-living every moment in my memories as if they had just happened. Upon it's completion, I designed the cover, inserted some of my photography, designed the layout and sent it off for publication. It's my baby. Whether good or bad, it's all mine and I'm a proud parent. I invite you into my stories and hope they might spark you to write some of your own. I'll bet you have some worth sharing.
Welcome to my place. This is where I'll share my thoughts and insights. This is my first blog and I have brain fog right now from trying to create this user friendly web-site. That was a challenge for me. But like my favorite saying- "your failures may ultimately be as important as your successes...because failing means you had the courage to try."
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and