Summer is slowly winding down in my part of the world. Days are getting shorter, nights are getting cooler, and veggies are abundant in area farmers markets in my neck of the woods. Normally, I would be recounting all of the wonderful trips and excursions I had gone on by now, but this year’s list is a little smaller than some year’s. What I can tick off though are the number of pages I have written and edited in my current work in progress. My second novel, Riding the Waves, is getting so close to complete (and that is a fantastic thing to celebrate this summer)! Stay tuned, as my grief memoir is nearing the end and will be ready to hit bookshelves soon!
Riding the Waves
Riding the Waves is another long time in coming project of mine. This book is another memoir, but in a completely different genre. Memoir covers a wide range of topics, but travel and grief don’t really rub shoulders too often. So while Roughing it in Africa sailed out into the universe in 2021, my current WIP is going to ride in on choppier waters. This book is a grief memoir of life, love and loss with a big helping of healing to wash it all down with. Insightful and uplifting in a completely different way.
I completed the first draft of Riding the Waves early in the summer. For so long I didn’t know what the end was going to look like or how I would wrap up a tale of grief and loss that doesn’t ever really have an end to it. As anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows, you don’t ever forget them, and their loss forever changes you, so how do you wrap a tidy bow around when you go from broken to healed?
There is no bow. There is no end.
What you do get though, is a change in how it feels and a different outlook in how you look at that loss. At some point you recognize the gifts that come with having had that person in your life in the first place and the understanding that while their physical presence might be gone, those people live in your head and heart forever more. You never reach the end and that is a pretty incredible realization, when you get there.
Writing a book about loss is a little more complicated though. You might not ever have an end to the relationship you had with the deceased, but there needs to be some kind of end point to a book. There needs to be some kind of final conclusion to offer readers and a stopping point for them to walk out of your story and step back into their own.
I think I found it. Ultimately, my readers will be the ones to decide whether or not I hit the mark or not though. And hopefully I will get that book into your hands soon enough to decide for yourselves!
So where is the book at right now? Good question.
When I finally decided that I had reached the end, I walked away from the computer for a week or so. You need to let a story steep before diving back in to begin ripping and tearing at all the words you just put down. I couldn’t stay away for long though, and soon enough was back at the very beginning of the tale. I am the kind of writer who tweaks as I go though, so this round of edits has been quick.
Part of that is due to almost having abandoned the tale a few years ago though. While I always knew sharing my story had the potential to help others who may have gone through a similar experience themselves, grief is a difficult story to tell. At least I have been daunted by the task.
In grief, we are incredibly vulnerable. For many, it is the absolute worst moment in their life—losing a loved one. I myself was gutted by the experience of walking my husband’s illness and thrashing through the process of making sense of his subsequent death. But I had so many lifelines which helped keep me afloat while I was grieving and books were one of them. I read as many stories as I could find to help me not feel as alone as I did.
That lifeline is what I want to throw out now to those who are in the deep end of grief.
There is hope now. I can see the end of this journey. Not the end of loss—that will always be a part of who I am—but an end to this chapter. I have almost completed this round of edits. Cover images are being tossed around. My working title is pretty close to being written in stone. I have begun the process of contacting people found within the tale to advise them of the book and their places within its pages. And beta readers are being amassed to give advice on how I can make the story better before it gets in front of too many more sets of eyes.
As I work through the final steps to see this book through to publication, I am buoyed up by the process. It has been an incredible journey; one I never would have chosen or wished on anyone, but mine just the same. I am proud of all the work put in thus far and am so grateful for all who have encouraged me and cheered me on along the way. I know there will always be waves to ride, but I think I am getting the hang of it: at least I understand how the journey works.
Stay tuned for news on when Riding the Waves will be completed and when you can get your copy of my grief memoir. Coming soon!