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Writing from the Deeper Self

"Bringing Your Inner Treasures

into the Outer World . . ."

Book Development

with Naomi Rose

July 2008 Newsletter

   

       1. Introduction: "Home-Birthing a Book"

       2. Feature: "Writing a Book Is an Intimate Act,

                        and So Is Reading It: A Heart-to-Heart Way

                         of Approaching Publishing"

       3. Feature: "Real People's Books Get Made into Movies...

                        Elizabeth Rosner's The Speed of Light"

1. Introduction

Home-Birthing a Book

Something odd often happens once a book is completed and brought out into the world: the kind of intimate experience that characterized the process of writing gets turned into a commodity. If you have gotten so far, in your own book writing or research, as to start looking into the conventions around getting the word out—no matter whether you have an external publisher or you are self-publishing—then you must have noticed the level of trumpeting deemed necessary in order to interest a book-buying public in your book.

I would like to propose another way of looking at this "birth" into the world—for those of you who are writing a book, have written a book, or are dreaming of maybe someday writing a book. You might think of it as more of a "home birth," to extend this metaphor. (And why not? As a Book Developer, I have been called a "book midwife" often enough.)

A home birth—from what I have heard—is much more intimate. More quiet. More attuned to the needs of the mother in labor, and more equipped with human, loving help than with sterile instruments. What if we were to allow ourselves a "home birth" in bringing our precious books into the world? What if the very process of doing so enhanced how the book was received?

In this brief July newsletter, I'll explore this a bit more—with some shining examples. Have a wonderful start of summer.

Naomi Rose

2. Feature

Writing a Book Is an Intimate Act, and So Is Reading It:
A Heart-to-Heart Way of Approaching Publishing



If you take a moment to really look at my logo, you will see that it is a mandala made up of roses and pages. In the very center, in the heart of the logo, is a pearl, surrounded by a flower. And beyond that, widening out towards the outer rim of the circle, are book pages. Once on the actual rim, the world-facing rim, there are flowers again.

When I first dreamed of Writing from the Deeper Self, over 20 years ago, it was this relationship of hearts that was at the center. My vision was of looking deep within to find the truth and beauty and healing, and writing this in such a way that the actual pages were infused with this energy--that the writer's state of being was transmitted in the writing. Then, when a reader--in the privacy of her or his own heart--opened those pages, she or he would be brought to the same place the writer was in the act of writing. This heart- to-heart transmission was the gift, the point, the urgency of care. The balm erasing separateness, in the deepest, most private places.

Many years, and writings, and clients, have passed since that vision first appeared. The beauty of receiving the vision is that it is wonderfully inspiring; the difficulty is that it is unclear how it will come to pass in reality. The beauty of embodying the vision, over time, is that it produces real experiences, real life. The difficulty is remembering the ideal vision that originally descended.

And so in the very detailed world of publishing, and of promoting one's book (the "platform" publishers talk about these days), even I have often lost sight of that heart-to-heart vision. It is so easy to write to a public, to write to a trend, to write to something other than the essence of what's in your heart. And it's also easy to lose heart when attempting to climb the many mountains of detail in the conventional way of getting one's book "out there." There is distribution to be considered, and publicity, and site of sales. The promotion of a book, it has been said, is a business in and of itself. And sometimes it gets far, far away from the heart that wrote the book.

What if we took as a reality that all we are doing, in writing our books or dreaming of writing our books, is touching the hearts of our readers? Touching the heart of the world? What if we took as a reality that there is only one heart, and if we can find our way into it, and write out of it in a certain consciousness and level of adeptness, that we have touched the heart of God, and that is what will birth our book into the world?

If this touches you, I invite you to simply contemplate it and let it grow inside you, and see what emerges out of it. If you would like to share any of that with me, please write and let me know. I seek a more mystical approach to publishing than just the nuts and bolts. This is a way that I like to call "A Mystic in the Marketplace." The challenge is not so much learning the hoops of publishing, but remembering the mystical reality, and touching into that, asking into that.

So this contemplation is July's suggestion: There is only one heart, and if we can find our way into it, and write out of it in a certain consciousness and level of adeptness, we have touched the heart of God--and that is what will birth our book into the world.

3. Feature:

Real People's Books Get Made into Movies...

Elizabeth Rosner's The Speed of Light

It does happen that a real person, a real writer, writes a book that makes it into the spotlight, most deservedly. And when this happens, it opens a door for the rest of us.


Elizabeth Rosner is an extraordinary writer of my acquaintance, whose novel, The Speed of Light, is currently being made into a movie, and is a "reader pick of the month" in Oprah's "O Magazine." I recently got an email from Elizabeth letting me know of this success, and I was thrilled for her. Not only because being mentioned in "O" is a pinnacle of popular-culture success, but because the book is a beautiful, poignant, ultimately healing story that is only possible because of the writer's adeptness of craft and depth of heart.

The Speed of Light tells the story of two grown children of a Holocaust survivor, and how they have attempted to come to terms with the stunting of life that their father's experience in the concentration camps has had on them. The daughter is an opera singer, the son barely able to go outside his room. And there is a mystery to be unraveled and forgiven, to give back life to the children who were born into that world.

I don't want to give away too much, in hopes that you will read this beautiful novel. It's enough, perhaps, to say that the exquisiteness of the writing is matched by a depth of understanding of what it is to be a human being.

To find out that The Speed of Light is now being filmed in London, and that it is now being praised in "O" is, for me, like finding out that the child of a friend whom you haven't seen for years has grown up into a wonderful person, who is getting the kind of help and respect that's much deserved.

This is what Elizabeth's website has to say about The Speed of Light: "Every family has a story. Every story, eventually, must be told. For most of their lives, Julian Perel and his sister, Paula, lived in a house cast in silence, witnesses to a father struggling with a devastating secret too painful to share. Though their father took his demons to the grave, his past refuses to rest."

So what does this have to do with "A Mystic in the Marketplace"? With bringing your treasures into the world?

I don't even know the process by which these in-the-world events unfolded for Elizabeth Rosner. I know she had an agent, and a publisher, but I don't know the "hows" of that, nor of how the rest came about. I do know that when I first met her, reading her poetry at an event of reconciliation between the children of Holocaust survivors and the children of German Nazis, I was struck by everyone's efforts to open to the hugeness of humanity, the light and the dark, and come to terms with "the other." Some years later, I ran into her again. And later still, after I had read and loved her book, I went to her reading in a local bookstore, where I was impressed by her ease, humor, and depth.

So she is a real person to me, albeit a fond acquaintance. I know something of what she has struggled with, at least in her art; and to hear that she is now on the cusp of true fame tells me that not only does she deserve it, but that we all can be real and make our contribution, make our mark, help to heal our shared world.

My suggestion: Let go of the rim of the world in favor of the heart, at least for as long as you are writing. And then, once you are ready to share your book with readers, keep that pearl at the center in mind as you move out towards the outer rim. Trust the stillness at the center to move the circle to the right place for your needs, for your readers' hearts. Be a mystic in the marketplace, and give thanks for what you find and receive and get to give.

To find out more about Liz Rosner, go to her website, www.elizabethrosner.com.

 

 

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