The Unpublished Book

I spent three years writing a book. It was a memoir about a particular twenty years of my life. Sixty thousand words later I started sending it out to agents for representation. But after I sent out each submission I found myself hoping that the agent wouldn’t pick it up. A few months ago I faced the truth…I didn’t want this work to move forward with me…I didn’t want it published. Of all the scenarios that I had envisioned, this wasn’t one of them.

I sat with that decision for a few months and made it final two days ago. It was clearing out day. After steaming vegetables and cleaning everything that I could find, I knew that the time had come. I went into the office and, after saving the manuscript, I started deleting all files relating to agents and preparation for publication including the two manifestos that kept me focused during the writing process. Then I turned to the paper trail. I gathered all files about the book and put them in a bin. Next came the garage. I unearthed tons of papers wrapped in rubber bands with little post-its on them saying “Not using” and put them in the bin.

When all was done, I sat in a chair with my face in my hands. I was on the other side of the intense energy and determination that kept me going for three years. I was going to create a work that would be an example of how to transform and transcend life’s crises. I planned to promote the book and speak to groups of people who needed support and guidance to face their traumas. I promised myself that I would accept whatever the future of the book would bring, and here I was trying to summon the courage to do just that. I felt sad and was missing the good friend that was the platform for my voice. Where to go next? I got up and took a bath in epsom salts and lavender, then got ready to meet friends for dinner.

The next day I took the bin to the shredding center. Guess how much the papers weighed? Twenty-one pounds! The cashier asked if I wanted her to put them in the shredding bins. “No!” I told her. “I want the pleasure of doing it myself.” And I slid all twenty-one pounds of the papers into the slots, saying good-bye to each pile.

The next day after qigong class I told one of the students about my day of discarding and moving on. He said, “Good luck with integrating and applying!” I realized that he had just given me the new version of transform and transcend. There’s no looking back, just moving forward. Stay tuned, be inspired and please share!

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