How long did it take you to write? – most asked question about Finding Starlight
The honest answer is that it took my entire life, and a few days, and a few years. I knew from the time I was a child that I wanted to write, and that the first book would be the story of the life I’d lived. I have been putting pen to paper, creating stories, poetry, and philosophies since I was seven years old; since I was nine, I have been reading and speaking these words in front of crowds.
Some people spend their lives trying to figure out their Purpose. Living my life, and telling that story, is mine. I’ve always known it. Of course, there’s more to this than just . . . talking about myself. Every fire I have walked through, every time I almost died, every tear I ever cried – these were all allegories of human expansion.
I’ve experienced many traumas with an air of separation from them. This is not necessarily like the traumatic response of disassociation, but, rather, the meditative objectivity of witness consciousness. People have told me that I’m strong, resilient, wise, and even lucky. But I think it’s something else, something more Destined than that.
Nearly everything I’ve endured, I have simultaneously experienced and witnessed. I have been the “victim” while holding onto compassion for the aggressor/abuser. I have loved those who hated me the most – and I still do. I have written about things immediately after they happened with forgiveness dripping from my pen. There’s hardly a piece of prose I’ve created that didn’t end with hope; the very telling of it heals me.
I believe I came here to live through these things on Purpose, as my Purpose, to be able to relate to millions of others – to reach millions of people in their darkness. Why that matters is only just now becoming clear to me
“Not all of us are as brave as you are to share such private moments and memories with the world. You are a strength for those of us who are not strong enough to talk about their issues. Thank you.” – direct message on FaceBook from a person I’d never spoken to before in my life
… and so, so many more like this have come through. People saying to me, “I’ve been through this, too, and hearing your story helps. A lot.”
How long did it take me to get here? Many, many years. My first attempt to start the book was in 2008 when I moved to St. Croix USVI; however, I wasn’t finished living it. When I moved to New Hampshire in 2012, I met a woman named Katrina who would take me on a past-life journey to the center of my soul. The transcript of that session became the basis of Finding Starlight.
I wrote the first 35,000 words over the course of a couple days in a very Hunter S. Thompson style inspirational rage, with clove cigarettes and Caribbean rum on repeat while I sat on my sunny porch, fingers flying over the keys. Then, a few years passed and I shifted my focus to founding an international nonprofit, having a child, and becoming a yoga teacher, healer, and business owner.
Finally, in 2015, I returned to those original 35,000 words. Telling the rest of the story took me a couple months, into the next year, and then I sent it out to my first round of readers. Twelve dedicated, contracted-to-secrecy, cheerleader & critic readers poured over my sloppy first draft and gave thorough feedback, which I would then sit on for a few months and incorporate into the second draft, which a second, smaller focus group reviewed. Another rewrite and I began querying agents in 2017.
The first dozen agents I queried either rejected or ignored me. I sat with my sense of unworthiness for a while, then ran an indiegogo campaign to self-publish. Many people, over two-dozen of you, contributed. I raised enough money to hire a professional editor, and did so.
That edit took place over the summer, and came back much more promising than I’d anticipated. I sat with those edits, then simultaneously incorporated them and came up with this Rupi Kaur -inspired “shameless publicity stunt” idea to read the entire thing aloud here on the internet one chapter at a time, while I continue to query agents and hope to get discovered.
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is,” Mary Oliver wrote, “I do know how to be idle and blessed . . . which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done?”
I don’t know exactly what I’m doing or why. But I do know it’s moving people. I do know it’s healing my wounds even more deeply than ever before, and that when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
Tell me . . . what else should I have done? What other story should I tell, than the one of my wild and precious life?