Do you know how excited I was to meet Wendy Paine Miller last year? She probably doesn’t know herself, but… when I walked into my favorite local coffeeshop (Daybreak Coffee Roasters in Glastonbury, Connecticut!), and saw they would be hosting a monthly book club, I signed up immediately!
A book club was just what my frazzled mommy-brain needed to regroup and get the gears going again. And… it was being led by a local author. Okay. I don’t get star struck by, actors and athletes and such, but… authors? People who with mere words can MOVE me? Yes! Yes, I get a bit starry-eyed when I meet an author!
Wendy’s book was third on the list for our club, and by that point, I’d had several conversations with her, and felt a sort of kindred spirit – she’s a mom of three girls AND a novelist? She didn’t know it but she instantly became my new hero! I’ve always wanted to have kids AND publish books so… she makes me believe that it could happen one day for me too!
Wendy is so encouraging, engaging, and sincere – I love the detailed conversations she can hold about a book! We’ve laughed long at a few book club meetings when she and I have vastly different views on a character! Sadly, the day we were to discuss her book in the club, I had a family illness, so couldn’t go! Wendy, we are long overdue to discuss your book in person!!
Last year Wendy published her first novella The Disappearing Key. It’s packed full of plot twists and ethical /moral dilemmas for the characters. The story centers around a set of parents and their child, Oriana (doesn’t that name alone just make you want to read the book?)… and a mysterious key… the story poses the question: how far is too far when it comes to saving your child? Thought-provoking for sure!
I enjoyed the book and Wendy’s tightly written prose – check out The Disappearing Key on Amazon (affiliate link).
And now, Meet Wendy
She’s going to talk a bit about the intersection of Motherhood with her writing life.
Whenever I come home from book club I experience a brief moment of panic, fearing that when I go upstairs to check on my three girls something will be wrong. I won’t find them in their beds. They’ll be violently ill. This is the irrational curse I put on myself for being away from them for a few hours, for daring to take care of myself.
The other night I came home and felt the pang I mentioned above only to find each of them sleeping soundly and a journal splayed open on my fourth grader’s desk. Her light was still on. Her diary-type journal was open with writing in. Heck yeah, I read it.
Immediately upon doing so, my heart turned to mush. Here’s what my middle daughter had written (word for word, no corrected spelling):
“I want to detocate this book to my mom because I’m so proud of her writing her book and theres something so special about her. Thanks mom and I really love you! I hope to follow in her footsteps.”
You see, I’m a writer. But I’m also a mom. And these two roles in my life sometimes beautiful cohabitate and at other times clash worse than any said Titans.
Because more often than not I feel like a peon. I fail miserably trying to string words together so they’ll create a coherent story. I fail at feeling confident in my craft. And let’s not even start with the countless ways I’m tempted to feel like a failure when I sign on to social media sites. I’m convinced my three girls can see right through me—straight into the heart of my failure and insecurity as a writer (and sometimes even as a mom).
While I’m not afraid of being vulnerable and quite the opposite, see the value in demonstrating some degree of vulnerability in front of my children, it’s hard to explain just how deep the well of insecurities goes for a writer. There are far more moments we endure critique and rejection than when we feel comfortable in our skin, tapping out words as though we’re a fairy zinging fresh sparkles from a wand. Words don’t come out like sparkles for me. They often plop onto the page and I’m left cleaning up the mess.
I suppose these are the things I don’t always want my children to see—just how much of a fight it can be to slog on. When the going gets tough. When the obstacles ramp up. Then I ask, why not? Maybe this is the very thing my daughter recognizes as “special” in me, that refusal to back down or quit. Maybe her desire to follow in my footsteps has less to do with her actually becoming a writer someday and more to do with knowing whatever she pursues, she’ll throw her whole self into it. Or maybe I’m just talking hokey pokey talk. I’m allowed. It’s goes with the mom role.
No matter, my daughter gifted me with those words from her journal the other night. I’ll treasure them always. I’m also willing to bet that on days when I feel like I’m losing the fight, her words will come to me. Like sparkles out of thin air and they’ll be nothing for me to clean up. Nothing to fix, but rather to accept and embrace.
When is the last time you felt encouraged in your role(s)?
Wendy is a mom of three and Connecticut author. She’s authored nine novels and has been published in numerous anthologies and online! Visit her website Thoughts that Move where she’s writing about faith, spiritual memoirs, and her next book The Flower Girls! You NEED to read her bright and inspiring thoughts!
Stay tuned for next week’s Guest Mom as the MomVitational Motherhood Series continues!