Update and Heads Up

Update:

My book has officially launched into the world, and it’s as wonderful, strange, and delightful as I’d imagined!

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I’ve gotten only positive reviews (5 stars on Amazon!) and emails, telling me that the book touched my readers’ hearts, which is such a gift. I’ve also spent too much time with my phone in my face, scrutinizing stats and wondering which publicity is most effective to share my book with people who will want to read it. Some days are a roller coaster—this is great! could I do more? hooray!—but at the end of each one, I am so, so grateful that this dream has come true.

 

Don’t have your copy yet? Order it here in paperback or for Kindle.

 

Since the book launched, I’ve been on a number of radio shows, and I’m recording interviews on two podcasts over the next week. Something I didn’t expect was how many opportunities I’d have to talk with people who come at the book from different perspectives: fathers, grandmas, grandpas, Catholics, Protestants, “nones,” folks I know, and total strangers. The book says “CatholicMom.com” on the front of it, but it’s opened up a conversation that’s allowing connection and communion among a broader demographic. Very cool.

 

If you’re interested in listening in on my next appearance or want to tune into a recording of a past interview, check out my Events page, here, for links.

 

Heads Up:

On Wednesday I’m launching a giveaway on Instagram that I am so, so excited about. I’ve teamed up with a bunch of artists I truly admire and I can’t wait to share them. Follow me @lindsayschlegs for the details.

 

What’s next?

I have a couple of speaking gigs coming up, and I’m still working on writing projects large and small. Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter to see what I’m up to.

 

Thank YOU for reading! God bless you!

 


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It’s Publication Month!

My book, Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God, will be published at the end of this month by Ave Maria Press. You can pre-order it now and expect it in your mailbox in just a few weeks!

In the meantime, I invite you to sign up for my email list, where you’ll get info on the book and other writing projects before it reaches the masses.

Sign up here!

Thanks so much! You’ll be hearing from me with a preview of the book soon!

 

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some links on this site are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Storytelling, Without Paper

Just over a week ago, my sweet, beautiful grandmother passed away. She was ninety-eight years old and had been in hospice for about three months. Her passing was peaceful, but of course it still hurts to know she is gone from this world.

 

For most of the time she was in hospice, she was in very good shape mentally. I’d bring my two young kids to visit and they’d talk and she’d laugh at the way they would climb on her bed and play with her Christmas decorations and look at her pictures (mostly the ones of themselves). Sitting next to my mom, beside my grandmother, with my kids at our feet is something I will always treasure; it’s a gift one can’t count on having, and I am grateful I experienced it.

 

The other beautiful thing about the last few months with my grandmother was how much of the time she spent telling me stories. Sometimes, they were updates on my cousin or something that had happened to her recently. But the best ones were the ones from her childhood.

 

One day, we were talking about how she didn’t like chocolate ice cream (perhaps the only moment in time I questioned our being related). She told me how, as a child, she preferred to buy a bag of candy for a penny from the corner store. She’d go down with her friend, Margie, I think, and they’d squeeze the bags to find the biggest one, until the shopkeeper told them to pick one and move along. The candy, she told me, was the leftover bits, probably some of them were from the floor, but she loved it.

 

I’d never heard this story before, but when she finished telling it (and laughing; she always laughed at her own stories), she said, “Why do I remember that?”

 

“I don’t know,” I told her, but I was so glad she did. To have a glimpse of my grandma as a girl, to imagine her life almost a hundred years ago, to experience a moment of her life with her in memory—this is the power of story.

 

The things my grandma held on to, the things she treasured, were stories. Stories of her family and friends, stories she shared so freely with anyone who would sit and stay a while with her. There was joy and love and humor in her stories. There was family I never knew, but have at least an image of in my mind now. My grandma told stories with her heart and she laughed with her soul. I am grateful to have witnessed and shared in that part of her legacy, and it is something I will continue to hold very dear.

 

May she rest in peace.

The Contractor’s Story

Our house is undergoing a renovation right now (thus the unexplained hiatus here). In addition to doing beautiful and timely work, our contractor gave me an insight on the power of story.

 

Somehow we got to talking about tools we use to remember things. He told me about a conference he attended that involved a speaker/magician of some sort. I promise this is relevant to novel writing.

 

The speaker called on various audience members to generate a list of a dozen random items. Then he worked them into a story, made up on the spot. At the end of the presentation, he asked the audience to try to remember as many of the previously unrelated items as possible. They easily recalled the majority of them.

 

Story is humans’ way of relating, of remembering, of reflecting, of being all the beautiful things we are as human beings. And that makes it a worthy endeavor for me.

Storytelling in GRAVITY (SPOILER ALERT)

This weekend, for the first time in . . . a really long time, I went to the movies. With two small children, this is a rare treat. My husband picked the movie—Gravity—and I was happy to go in with almost no knowledge of what the film was. Apart from it starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney almost exclusively, and the suggestion that it made commentary on some big-picture questions on life, true happiness, etc., I had no idea what I was getting into.

 

For the first half hour, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. The idea of space kind of freaks me out, and I thought my husband knew this (oops, he forgot!). But once I let myself fall into the film, I found my mind spinning as to what was going on and how readily I could relate. The experience was arresting and one I’d highly recommend—especially for storytellers.

 

What struck me most was how little I knew about Bullock’s character, and yet how engaged I was with her. I kept waiting for a flashback, for a scene to visually depict the snippets I was getting and fill in some of the blanks. As time went on, I realized I didn’t need a lot of those spaces filled in. The suggestions were strong enough, and my imagination did the rest. The screenwriters did an excellent job of including only what was most important and most relevant, and leaving the rest out.

 

It won’t surprise you that I have never been to space, and yet, I had such an intimate reaction to this story. This, I think, is one of the most effective secrets to good storytelling: for a story to be universal and timeless, it must be thoroughly entrenched in its own time and space. The more specific it is—without becoming irrelevantly technical—the more real the created world feels.

 

The classics we read in high school, the movies we watch over and over again, even the picture books we read to our children are not great because they’re trying to be something to everyone. Rather, they tell their own specific stories with particulars, and the strongest themes find their way to light through that.

 

In every good story, there’s a lesson for the storyteller. What stories have you learned from lately, readers?