I believe that early morning musing is important. I lie in bed in that sleepy zone between my conscious and unconscious, and let hazy thoughts come to me. Sometimes they arrive as ideas for projects or solutions to problems. But today I woke to a message from my spirit.
I opened my eyes, and, oddly, the first thing that came to me was Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. I rarely think of poetry when half asleep, but I remembered Mrs. Watkins, my fifth grade teacher, looking sternly at our class of twelve and reading the poem from a big red book, marked with a frayed red ribbon. She often made us memorize such masterpieces as the Gettysburg Address, and I must also have learned at least a part of If. What floated through my mind today were snatches of the first three lines:
If you can keep you head when all about you
Are losing theirs…
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…
I blinked and thought, Eureka! A message indeed, surgically tailored for me.
Today is the day that my novel, An Unexpected Grace, is officially out in the world, available online and in bookstores. My publisher is doing an email blast to launch the book, and I’m supposed to tweet and pin and post about it. Though thrilling, this is not an easy, simple morning. Anxiety lurks in the shadows of my excitement, and I feel almost overwhelmed. It’s definitely a time to do what Rudyard Kipling says: to “keep my head” when life is out of my control and “trust myself” when others doubt or question what I’ve written.
Kipling said that inspiration for If came from the British politician Leander Starr Jameson, who led a raid against South Africa’s Boer government in l896 at about this time of year. Though the raid was a failure, Jameson’s dignity and courage made him a hero; and his strength of character was said to trump his defeat. A book launch may be a gnat compared to the elephant of his military action, and I’m not anticipating his failure. But a launch does call for Jameson’s mettle and determination. I vowed this morning to rally it, as must all writers when they sit down to a blank page every morning and are said to open a vein and bleed. Or when they go out to promote a book.
Thankful for this morning’s message to gather up my spunk, I can only say: Hello, world! Here’s my novel about Lila and Grace, a woman and a dog! Their light shines from my heart and leads my way. I hope you’ll enjoy their story.