Three years ago right now I was in Italy at a literary workshop. I had 25 pages of Little Matches written but I still I had no idea whether it would ever become a book. When I arrived home, I resumed my practice of setting a timer every day and sitting down to write “no matter what.” I aimed for a chapter a week, and sent the pages to my friend, the writer Susan Conley, every Monday. I needed to feel like somebody was expecting those pages, and I’m grateful to Susan and to two other close friends, Jane and Monique, for steadily urging me on.
And now it’s complete! In four short weeks, it will be out in the world.
🕯BE MY GUEST AT THE VIRTUAL LAUNCH CELEBRATION 🕯
All events are currently still virtual. It means I can’t see you in person, but it also means you can see me from the comfort of your own home, and we can be connected no matter where we are.
My first event will be at Brookline Booksmith in Massachusetts. I did quite a few CASCADE events there, and nothing would make me happier than to talk about this book, for the first official time, with loved ones surrounding me and pizza at Otto afterward, but I am also so grateful that the virtual option exists.
I am excited to talk about Caitlin and this book, and how much I hope it will inspire people to love deeply, live purposefully, and seek joy. My conversation partner is going to be an old friend, the absolutely stunning writer and wonderful human, Lily King. Lily and I had a long, outdoor walk this past December and talked about how people, after they are gone, can actually start to feel near again in a wonderful way that you never expected.
I have a small request. I would LOVE it if attending guests would light themselves a little candle 🕯 in honor of Caitlin, their own loved ones, and in honor of themselves. I won’t be able to see you all out there, but if I can imagine your faces shining amidst all that light, I think we can conjure a beautiful, virtual community for one precious hour.
The event is free but you must register to get the Zoom link. Click here: Zoom link for Booksmith
🕯MORE LITTLE MATCHES CONVERSATIONS 🕯
Because I will be doing most of my book talks with conversation partners – wonderful writers who are generously giving me their time – we will not be following any set script. Each talk will be unique and wonderful and I hope new readers will hear about them and attend.
All of my events are/will be listed on my website and we will keep it up-to-date. I will also write another post soon, with updates.
🌀 LEGACY WORKSHOPS 🌀
A head’s up that I’m going to be offering some mini-workshops at some bookstores around the country. Recently, I trained as a certified end-of-life doula at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. I knew that the training would a) better prepare me for the hospice volunteering I plan to do when Covid restrictions lift, 2) help me to better speak to the state of end-of-life care in our culture.
My favorite part of the doula training was legacy work – helping people record life interviews. Life interviews offer an opportunity for people to reflect on their lives and shape their stories, regardless of age or current health.
I believe in the idea that everyone has a story that deserves to be preserved, and have written a brief article about life interviews and the opportunities that I missed with my daughter and my mother. It will run in Time Magazine in early April.
So far, we’ve set up three of these free, one-hour workshops with bookstores in California, Washington state, and Florida, but because they are virtual, anyone anywhere can certainly attend. They are/will be listed on my website with registration links. So far it’s Warwick’s in LaJolla, Books and Books in Miami, and Elliot Bay Books in Seattle.
🌀 SIGNS 🌀
I’ve been wanting to write another “signs” post for a long time but I’ve been so busy writing other things, I haven’t had a chance. As always there are constant 33s and hawks in our lives, but some of the instances have been particularly fascinating. Here’s one thing that I’ve been meaning to share since last summer.
As I wrote here, my mom passed in June. Earlier that year, I was helping to take care of her after she had begun to fail. I knew that she had a lifelong fear of death and even though she was clearly not long for this world, she clung to a hope that she would miraculously get better and live another ten years. With my mother and me, if a subject was uncomfortable, it was not discussed, but as I was helping her into bed one night, I mustered up my courage. I said, “I know you’re scared but it’s going to be okay.” And I said what I believed to be most true: “I KNOW there’s more than this. You’ll see! I’m actually envious. You’re going to see Caitlin.”
She did not comment, just looked at me steadily, processing what I’d said.
Two months after her passing, I had a session with Kristin Bredimus, a spiritual consultant with a toolkit full of abilities, whose energy work is so powerful that I stumble off her table like I’ve had a two-hour deep-tissue massage. As Kristin was passing her hands through the air above the left side of my body, I heard her ask something about “mother.” We were both masked and she had a shield on; she had to speak up.
There was mother energy wanting to present itself, she said. “Has your mother passed?”
“She has,” I said. “Very recently.”
“She’s saying, ‘You were right. You were right.’”
“Yes. Did you two have an argument about something?”
We had not, I said. And I told her what I thought it meant.
After the session, I got in my car and began to drive away. A car pulled out of a side street, right in front of me, and right in front of Kristin’s building.
And as I was writing this post, I had to do a search on my phone to find the pic of the license plate. You really can’t make this stuff up.
Oh and this just popped up this morning in “Facebook Memories.” I’ll add it for the pleasure of all who are longing to travel again. Sigh.