ON THE BRINK OF PUBLICATION…OR, LEAPING INTO THE VOID

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Within a few days—and after I’m embarrassed to say how many years—this attending metaphysician will finally publish [LOVE] RACHEL – A Daughter’s Memoir of Love, Betrayal, and Grace. Hard for me to believe, but the hour will soon come. When it does, a serious chunk of me will be naked to the world.

Getting it published meant facing the odds that anyone of my age and lack of notoriety would ever find a literary agent, let alone a commercial publisher. Were I so lucky as to be “agented,” and if a small brave publishing house took a chance on my book, there would typically be no budget to publicize any work by a relatively unknown writer. I’d most likely be asked to cover those costs myself, or to handle my own publicity. So I called a recommended self-publishing press, signed a contract, and paid what seemed a reasonable price.

Then came the shock of realizing that, no matter how carefully I’d edited my work, the eyes got tired, missing idiotic errors.  Bloopers even got past the fresh gaze of hawk-eyed colleagues. Humility is a virtue worth clinging to–especially when you spot a missing verb in the first line of Chapter One, after your book has been typeset to go to press. Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to resubmit my corrected “final” manuscript. Don’t ask. Help with copy editing was not in my contract, so I had to rely on myself and some skilled, compassionate friends. Beware the unscrutinized contract!

But I digress. Let’s talk about fear. Not sharing intimate details with others is a huge, easily lost protection. We lose that invisible shield when we put vulnerable bits of personal history into writing, and throw red meat to a vast army of anonymous trolls, haters, mockers, and not-yet-dead identifiable skeletons in your own closet. However, not writing about the experiences that haunted my life meant I might not give them enough attention to heal fully. Nor could I offer my story as a possible way to help others.

That’s not specific enough. Help others how? The bush I’m beating around is, for lack of a less loaded term, my experience of personal evil. Or what felt like evil in the relationship I shared with the person who meant the most to me—my otherwise loving, wise, gracious, inspiring mother. Even saying it arouses fear of being branded an ungrateful daughter. For the same mother gave me much that was inspiring and good.

My challenge has been to describe what I felt was an indirect betrayal of my character. Indirect, long-lasting, and never taken back, even on her deathbed. I wrote a whole memoir to understand it, using every drop I had of focused, caring attention. You are welcome to read it in paperback or as an e-book. Any day it will be published, and my life will change in unknowable ways. Wish me well. And thanks for reading The Attending Metaphysician website.   — Rebecca M. Painter