In October I wrote a post about accepting differences and it was well received. Since then I have had to learn some further lessons about accepting differences. It is an ongoing journey.
Last week I met up with my former publisher. I hadn’t seen her for years and she seemed keen to catch up. As we sat eating, she looked me in the eye and told me that she thought I could write well but why had I wasted my time writing that ‘crappy self-help book’ and why had I ‘aired my dirty linen’? I guess I wasn’t altogether surprised as many years ago she had urged me to write a book, Sizzling at Sixty which would have been in the vogue of Fifty Shades of Grey, but I hope better written. She was excited when I wrote a few chapters but then I began to feel uncomfortable about the exercise and let it go.
My publisher could never quite forgive me but was excited when she heard I was writing Sizzling at Seventy. She urged me to send her some chapters as she was certain it would be published and sell well. However, her reply upon receiving the chapters was less than enthusiastic. She told me to trash what I had written and get back to something that would sell. I had good reasons to continue but hadn’t realised that six years later she still couldn’t understand. Following our recent dinner, I gave her comments a great deal of thought and felt prompted to send her the following email:
You have been on my mind a great deal since our get together. It has been good for me to process the meeting and some of your comments.
I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been offended by your comment about my ‘crappy self-help book’, but having thought about this I am able to understand why you found the book and its concept repugnant.
You are a strong and vibrant woman and it must be hard to understand how we mere mortals operate. I had no intention to write such a book but after facing some home truths while I was studying ontology, I was so grateful for the way it helped me to change my thinking and understand my actions. I found the course confronting and had to look at some hard home truths. I always thought I had dealt with my childhood abuse but realised that I was still operating out of the unhelpful moods of resentment, resignation and anxiety.
Whilst I still have to pull myself up, I believe that becoming a better observer of myself, has changed my life and I certainly feel more confident and happier. My late husband saw the changes and nagged me to write about my experiences. I had been successfully undertaking corporate coaching but began to do some personal coaching and was struck by the number of people – men and women – who had experienced childhood abuse and were struggling to get on track. I began using the techniques I had learned in the course and found the results to be very positive – even with a couple of CEOs who had become stuck in some of those moods. It was then I began to think Mick was right and I wrote the book really quickly, paid for a professional and thorough editor, and was able to get the book out before Mick’s death. He was so thrilled and proud, even with his hair burnt off from radium, he went to every gathering he could to sell it (much to my embarrassment). To my surprise, the book has done well and even last week I received another email from a grateful reader.
If I was going to be able to help people, I had to be authentic and so, yes, it was necessary to ‘air dirty linen’. Still I completely understand why you feel the way you do. I always knew it was not for everyone and you are not the only one who has expressed these views.
I do intend to write the ‘great novel’, not sure what it will be about yet, but feel sure it is going to happen. Meanwhile I write for a magazine with a readership that seems to enjoy my articles and have met some really interesting people. This keeps giving me practice to keep writing.
I will always have the greatest admiration for you and what you do. You have had a positive influence in my life over the years and I will always be grateful.