Launching my novel Looking Through Water has been an experience that is hard to describe in words, which are supposed to be my specialty. I’ve spent the past seven years in a writerly seclusion, deliberately (as Addie would put it) “going invisible.” My first coming out party was at Linda Nygaard’s home in Lake Oswego, on January 23, Pie Day. Since Linda is an accomplished writer and author and pie lady, it was a memorable event, featuring five pies baked by Linda, one by me, one by my daughter.
Linda first read a piece she had written about her memories of her grandmother, and pie. I stood in front of the crackling fireplace, and read excerpts from the novel, to an assembled group of writers, authors, and marketing mavens. I found that the tiny, timid voice I had used during my invisibility had been replaced by a confident, sometimes loud voice, which the safety of that venue allowed.
Then January 28, the launch party at the Hoffman Center in Manzanita. We set out 60 chairs, and still had people standing in the back. We ran out of coffee, tea, and all the snacks (provided by friends), but had plenty of wine.
Incredibly, I knew everyone in the room, and loved them all dearly. They gave that back, magnified 60+ times. There was such loving, supportive energy directed at me as I read and answered questions, I felt as if I were enfolded and lifted up by mighty wings. When I told Jack that today, he reminded me of the quote my brother Tim scrawled out and framed for me two months before he died in 1996:
“Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow, when the mighty power of an eagle has been given her? And who would place her faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before her?” from A Course in Miracles.
Then I remembered that Christmas Eve, getting home late from the family get-together where Tim had given me his gift. Jack wanted me to open two more presents that night. The first was from his sister: a wind chime of soaring eagles. Then the gift he’d been working on secretly in his shop for days.
It was an exquisite box made of myrtlewood which he had polished to a silky sheen. When I opened it, a delicate music box played “You are the Wind Beneath My Wings.” That was finally just more than I could bear, after an evening of watching my brother bravely pretend he wasn’t in pain so he could be with his family one last time.
At the book launch, there were legions of angels filling the room, both visible and invisible. I think I finally got the message. Thank you, Tim.