A few nights ago I dreamed I'd taken a bus to an Italian city. I didn't recognize the location, but I noted an array of orange tiled roofs atop ochre-colored houses, persons greeting each other in Italian. "Buongiorno." Vespas purred down narrow streets. I heard the occasional startling honks of cars as they wound through traffic. I smelled faint traces of car exhaust. I stood on a bridge overlooking the town, the hustle and bustle at once thrilling me, as I had a hunger and curiosity to explore, yet simultaneously felt panic that I did not know where I was. I didn't know which way to go. Before I took another step, an exceptionally tall man emerged by my side and said, "I am here to guide you to all the best parts of this city." He offered me his hand. I briefly hesitated, yet had a hunch that he would be an authentic helper. I placed my hand in his and immediately felt the comfort of his warm grasp.
When I awakened, the concept of "emerging" entered my thoughts. In the dream, a "guide" arrived at precisely the moment I needed clarity to find my way. Before even a prayer for help had formed on my lips, support emerged.
In April of this year, Z Publishing House discovered some of my writing online. They approached me about making a submission. I was in Italy with Giovanni at the time I received the request. I dashed off a quick message thanking them for their interest. When we returned, only a week remained for me to submit before I missed the deadline. When I hit the "send" key, I thought about how rare it is for a publishing company to approach a writer. How extraordinary it is for an author's writing to emerge on the internet sea. (A book is submitted to Amazon every five minutes.) I thought about the myriad rejection emails I'd received over my years of writing. Even though the publisher had contacted me, I had no expectation of hearing from them again.
To my utter surprise, I found an email in my box in July. Both the fiction and non-fiction pieces I'd submitted were accepted for publication in two different anthologies. I had been selected as an emerging author for South Carolina. The non-fiction piece is an excerpt from my manuscript that is in process now. The narrative outlines a dream that emerged when Giovanni and I were traveling in Barcelona several years ago. The dream was pivotal for continued healing and recovery from self-doubt and shame. The fiction piece is a short story that emerged when Giovanni and I were in Italy in April. We had hoped to spend a day exploring the Amalfi coastline, but were hemmed in by rain and fog. We stayed in our hotel room. A story rose to the surface.
This week I had the honor of reading aloud an excerpt from my novel with a group of women. A young woman approached me after the discussion and said, "You've inspired me. I want to write a book. The story is inside of me, and I want to get it out. What do I do?" My mind raced. There was a part of me that wanted to say, "The process is lonely and difficult; you probably want to rethink this goal." Then I thought of my dream and said to her, "The first step is 'getting on the bus,' so to speak. That means writing. Write something every day. Do not censor yourself. Get your story on the page. This process is highly pleasurable. You will be amazed at the beautiful location that bus ride will take you when you write consistently. After you get something on the page, your "guides" will emerge. People who loyally support you and your writing. You'll know who they are. They will help lead you. These people provide wise and gentle feedback. They are not jealous of your pursuits. They champion your efforts and believe in your story. These kind guides are provided by God. God is committed to you finding your way-- to the process of your clear, resonant voice emerging and singing over a world that needs a melody."
A note to my readers:
Thank you for supporiting me. You are my kind guides who cheer me on. If you have interest, you can find the fiction and non-fiction anthologies my works are featured in here: South Carolina Emerging Authors