First book … the Pink Prayer Book …
September 15, 2008 § 7 Comments
Backstory: It just happened. One of the consultants at the company where I work as a tech writer is married to a senior editor at Liguori Publications. I have met this editor. We talk at parties. She knows I write, has read some of my stuff. We have many things in common, (something I’ve found often to be true among writers).
She called me in May about a project. Liguori had an idea for a book they wanted to publish, immediately. It just needed to be written first.
Would I do the project?
Would I do it in six weeks?
Yes, sure. (I did not look at the calendar. I did not ask the pay. (Why? The sound of opportunity knocking was very loud.) Further, this was a very specific book, a very specific cause.)
I was all yes’s.
Liguori Publication is a Catholic press. I’ve never written or considered writing anything religious or spirtual. I am a quiet protestant, neither evangelist nor angel. But the book was to be non-denominational. It is.
Above all, it was to be a collection of orginally written prayers by breast cancer survivors and those related to them. The universality of prayer, of petitioning via a belief, and the things people say and stories they tell in their petitions – that was to be the beauty of the little book. It would also include Scriptures and some interesting pertinent (and some literary) writings.
I got busy. I believed there would be a huge field from which to harvest. Wrong.. I am here to tell you that you cannot ask too many people; you cannot send your message through too many networks in order to cull originally written work. People are shy to write. And of course, I had a serious time constraint. And so the prayers came in, in fits and starts.
Patricia Corrigan, an excellent published writer and breast cancer survivor, stepped up to write the four essays in the book. She and I telecommunicated; she was a pleasure to work with. And Cokie Roberts, (yes, the Cokie Roberts), a breast cancer survivor,wrote a nice little Intro for the book (despite the writhing and worrying of her agent)!
Now: Three months later, the book is out. It’s a book that belongs to everyone. Every contributor has his/her name in it. They can all feel “wowed” by what they wrote and shared. Maybe they will now have publishing fever. I hope so. I hope to reprise the effort next year.
The PINK PRAYER BOOK fits in your purse; it’s neither too tiny nor too heavy. It took me places I had never gone before. Most remarkably, it brought responses from people I would have never met. It brought my family in touch, from its furthest extremes because my maternal aunt had breast cancer and this got us all talking years later not only about what Auntie went through but what each of us experienced during it. The caring network is unabashedly in full swing.
No, I never planned in my wildest book imaginings to work on a book of prayers.
But writers never know which turn in the path will bring them into some incredible clearing.