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I was away from home when I got the call. 814 miles away to be exact. After years of contemplation I’d taken the plunge and left my family to attend my first professional conference. As I highly anxious person, I’d played out so many horrific scenarios in my head over the years, that I wasn’t surprised when the call came. When you live in fear of something awful happening, it isn’t all that surprising when it does.
But shock is another thing. I stood by the river, frozen with my ear was pressed to my phone. A circle of newly made friends pulled around me as I started to cry. “What can we do?” they asked. ” How can we help?” These kind-hearted souls surrounded me, reaching out. People who knew nothing of me or my life, watched my face closely as I took in the details of the accident. My daughter was alive, but badly injured and on her way to the hospital. And I, I was a lifetime away.
Life became a dissociated, frenetic blur as I tried to contact my husband. Hoping he could get to the hospital and report back to me what I was too far away to see for myself. All of the “if only’s” played on a loop in my mind while I tried to figure out how to catch the first flight back home.
Later, I lay in the dark hotel room, watching the clock until I could get a ride to the airport. Sleep was an allusive gift that I did not deserve.
Flying home, I sat in the last seat available on the first flight I could find. Pressed up against the last row window seat, I willed myself to stay calm. Counting my breathes, away of how shallow they were, how close I was to another panic attack. She’s alive became my mantra.
When I finally arrived at the baggage claim my phone rang again. This time it was a new number. “Someone stole our phones from the pediatric ICU.” my husband explained from the nurse’s landline. “I’m on my way to get you.” Our daughter was alive, conscious. Stable enough for him to bring me to her. That was all that mattered.
When one of your worst fears come true does that mean you can let go of the ones that haven’t yet materialized?
To be continued…
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Call it an autobiographical roast. Catharsis Time is an original, live show in which real people share real stories in five-minute bursts. Want to hear someone read from their awkward teenage diary? Want to hear a short, outlandish tale you’re sure is fiction— but isn’t? Come laugh, squirm, and maybe get teary as these locals share their 100% real (and 100% eccentric) stories with you.
I am so thrilled to post this recent review of Choosing Charity by upcoming author, Evelyn Silver! (Please click on the link to view the video.)
Putting your work out there can be terrifying! The people pleaser in me worries that others won’t enjoy reading my words. Maybe they will find my story dull or poorly written. Perhaps they will be offended by the plot or characters. But taking the leap and putting it out there can also be freeing in a way.
I created a world from my imagination, and although there will always be people who don’t like it, that’s ok. I can finally put the running commentary in my head to good use. Hopefully, I can entertain and present my reader with a few moments of respite from everyday life.
Reading has always been an opportunity for me to plunge myself into someone else’s story. It has broadened my horizons to look at the world differently by empathizing with flawed characters. One of my goals in writing Choosing Charity was to highlight love. Love despite the flaws of humanity, of our genes, our traumas and our choices.
Despite it all, choose love.
My dream of having a book signing at Barnes & Noble came true this weekend! Just a few years ago, I clearly remember walking by a table set up at our local Barnes & Noble for an author’s book signing. I wished that could be me someday. I’ve always loved writing, but never though that I would actually be published. As a chronic pessimist, I’m surprised to tell you that sometimes dreams do actually come true!
I am so very grateful for the wonderful support and encouragement that I have received from The Wild Rose Press, my editor Melanie Billings, and all of my generous friends! If you have a dream, don’t give up on it. Put the hard work in and surround yourself with as much support as possible. It is worth it!
To say that Zoe had pooped would be an understatement. Somehow her entire back was covered. It was as if her diaper had exploded, leaving behind a disgusting trail of terror. Zoe didn’t seem all that bothered by the event. She stood, with her pudgy fingers reaching for me as I surveyed the best tactic to attack this biological hazard.
“Um, Aubrey?” I yelled, hoping my voice carried downstairs. “Mind if I put Zoe in the bath?” I grabbed a tissue from the box on the nearby dresser, ripping off a strip and plugging each nostril. My eyes water from the toxic emission.
I could hear Aubrey thumping back up the stairs. She was winded as she stood in the doorway with her hand pressed up against her nose. “Holy cow! How can such a little thing produce such a stink?”
“I know, right?” I laughed as I held the poop monster at arm’s length while carrying her to the bathroom.
“Hey Aub,” I yelled, “ would you mind grabbing me a clean diaper and a onesie for her? They’re in the pink and yellow diaper bag.”
Aubrey erupted into laughter as she came into the bathroom. Zoe was precariously perched on the side of the tub with my arm around her, while I fiddled with the spouts, haphazardly adjusting the water temperature. Always afraid of accidentally scalding my precious child, the water switched from tepid to frigid.
“Can I give you a hand?” Without waiting for a response, she leaned over me to take care of the water, while I began peeling the poop covered clothing off of Zoe. A clump of tissue plopped from my nose onto the floor. The putrid smell immediately offended my open nostril.
“Um, do you have a bag I could put this in?” I held the encrusted clothing between two fingers as I pushed the wadded tissue towards the garbage can with my foot.
“Here,” she said, flinging a hand towel to the floor, “just set it on this. I can throw a load of laundry in later. Eve threw up on my comforter earlier, so I’ll just throw it all in together.”
“You’re a saint.” I threw Zoe’s clothes onto the towel where they landed with a soft plop.
“Thank you so much! Sorry to cause such trouble.” Zoe squealed as I set her in the now warm water. She loved bathtime. Tiny specks of dried excrement began to fleck off her back into the water, There was no good way of doing this.
“Could I borrow a big cup from you?” I was beginning to worry that we were already wearing out our welcome. And we’d only been here a few hours so far.
“Sure. I’ll be right back.” Aubrey scooped up the literal pile of shit and zipped out as I unclogged the drain, hoping to dispel some of the brown remnants down. Moving Zoe out of harm’s way, I carefully turned the faucet on again hoping to replace the dingy water.
Aubrey returned with an old Big Gulp cup, which I thankfully accepted.
“You don’t have to stay here.” I glanced over at her as she pulled the top of her sweater up over her nose.
“Are you sure you don’t need any help?”
“I got this, but thanks.”
By Sara Zavacki-Moore
I’ve always admired those people who don’t seem to care what others think of them. Those free spirits, who carve their paths out of dreams and hard work and roads less traveled. But I’ve never been one of them. At least not on the inside.
I allow myself glimmers of that freedom. But I’ve yet to master the art of not worrying that I am under constant scrutiny. So, publishing a book has been hard. What if I offend someone? What if people feel obligated to buy it and secretly hate it? What if my characters are too flawed, or my writing isn’t strong enough?
Several years ago I was stopped outside of my local grocery store by an old family friend. This particular person knew me a lifetime ago. Back when I was a different person. I grew up in an ultra-conservative church where I also attended the adjacent school. My life was constricted by the rules within those walls. And there were a lot of rules and loads of walls.
It was a sultry sunny day, and I was wearing flip flops. On the way to my car, I was stopped as this woman stared down at my offending foot— the one with my daughter’s name delicately tattooed onto it. “But I never thought that you would get a tattoo! You were always such a quiet and good little girl!” She stared at me admonishingly. Judgments come so easily for some folks.
The church culture I grew up in was full of contradictions. Love your neighbor, but only if you convert them in the meantime. Love each other, as long as it isn’t gay love.
So when one of the characters in Choosing Charity fell in love with another woman, I followed where the story took me. When I write, I like to see what happens. And this happened.
And I let it.
Many years ago when I first started writing this book, an early reader from a religious writers’ workshop commented that the character might be “demon possessed” because she liked women. Really? Demon-possessed? I mean, I grew up being force-fed lies about homosexuality being a sinful choice. But, demon-possession? Come on.
Our childhoods may shape us, but they don’t have to define us. Yet I still have many friends and family who I fear judge me because I chose to write an LGBTQ+ friendly book. And I get it that people like and dislike all sorts of books for all sorts of reasons. I wish I could honestly say that I don’t care what they think. Would it change things if a character in my book was a serial killer? Or a judgmental Sunday school teacher? Or an abusive priest? There are so many choices.
Choosing Charity isn’t salacious. But I guess it does have an agenda. Love comes in all forms. Everyone has a story to tell. And, when you pull apart their stories, and study the heartache and adventure and challenges that shape each of our journeys you will find threads of love. After all, even the “demon-possessed” deserve love.