Tag Archives: life

The Terror of Launching a Book

My childhood memoir

Next week I will be launching a book. There’s a new kind of terror that has crept up on me. It’s not my first book, so why is this happening? It’s a memoir. And memoir is fraught with so many layers and emotions and involves other people. The ‘other’ people who have been a part of my life who may, will, have different memories to me and see things from a completely different perspective.

So what. Who cares?

I have been working on this memoir for many years. Now that it’s in print – the box of books sits next to me – I can already see how I could have written it differently. Made it better. It had gotten to the stage that I needed to complete it so that I could move on to other things (I have two other books waiting to be written). And the way I’ve written it is experimental. Will readers get it? Will they connect with it?

What am I worried about? I feel that my writing ability is sound but somehow I feel that ‘imposter syndrome’ sneaking up on me. I’ve done the work, had the book edited but it’s not actually the writing that I’m scared about. I’m scared that people will see me in a different light. This is ridiculous because I am the kind of person who lives life with no pretentions, so I think that people know the real me. There’s nothing in the book that can be construed another way. Or is there?

This is the thing with writing, or any artform. The way it’s received will be different with every single person. We all bring our own life experience to a story and interpret it in a unique way. So while I have been mindful of writing it in an honest, non-judgmental way, will it be taken as something else? Will anyone feel hurt or misunderstood by these stories?

So what. Who cares?

If a creator doesn’t care about the creation, why bother doing it? This is the dichotomy of art. We must care and nurture our creation into being, then cut the cords and let it fly to freedom. The world will make of it what it will. We can only hope that it is well looked after. There is always the danger of caring about it too much but in actual fact once it’s out there it no longer belongs to you. You’re giving it to the world. It may be liked, loathed or disappear into the abyss. As the creator we are sending out little pieces of ourselves and hoping that it is worth opening our heart and laying ourselves bare.

My childhood memoir, told in a series of ethereal vignettes, will launch at Busybird Publishing next Wednesday 8th August at 7pm. The Road to Tralfamadore is Bathed in River Water is my way of honouring a very special time in my life that has shaped me in so many ways. I’ll be quietly terrified in offering it up to my dear ones but also excited to have it alive and pulsing. I do care and will be putting myself out there despite the fear.

Blaise the book chick

 

Be Curious, Not Perfect: The Art of Connection

Finding love on the Camino de Santiago. Blaise van Hecke

To be curious is a natural inclination for humans but for many as they grow older they seem to be less so. I’m not sure why this is. Is it about losing a sense of wonder, the child within?

It’s no secret that I turned fifty this year. I don’t hide my age and I have no qualms about growing older because I know what a blessing it is to be here, in good health. Not everyone gets to do that. My life is full of blessings. Too many to count.

To signify turning fifty, I went on a little adventure. I wanted to commemorate and give gratitude to all of my blessings whilst doing something for myself. On this adventure I learned so many things about myself and other people.

It wasn’t really a ‘little’ adventure. I walked across Spain on the Camino de Santiago carrying everything that I needed for six weeks. It still feels surreal to make that statement. For those six weeks I walked over 800 kilometres and went through a gamut of physical, emotional and spiritual transitions. I also met a lot of people from all over the world doing the same thing (I’m not the only hairbrained person). We were all pilgrims looking for something. Some didn’t know what they were looking for, but that question was often answered for them by the time they finished. I certainly didn’t know I was looking for anything, but I sure did get a lot of answers.

The most surprising thing that I noticed about my interactions with other pilgrims was the level of intimacy that was established so quickly after meeting each other. Complete strangers would tell me their deepest desires and secrets. I know it wasn’t about me being receptive to this because others expressed the same experiences. It made me think about why this happens. Was it something about the Camino that allowed people to feel safe? Was there some spiritual force at work?

People were always curious to know more about other people. This curiosity opened up conversations that were beyond the obligatory talk about the weather. On my first day I met a 32-year old German man (how old you are, where you come from and why you’re walking the Camino are opening questions with everyone you meet) who said that he was happily married with a young daughter but felt that something significant was missing from his life. His pain was palpable. I only saw him for a day or two because he was walking faster than me. I hope he found what he was looking for.

The daily inquiry from other people was very revealing. I realised that people wanted to connect with each other and the Camino allowed this to happen at a much faster pace. Not only were they looking for answers for themselves, they wanted to learn about what made others tick: Were they the only one to not feel satisfied with their life? Had they spent their whole life not looking after their body, mind, spirit? So many questions, so many imperfections.

The simple act of embarking on a journey to look for answers, to be curious about life, to want more than they already had was a repeated theme. Talking to a stranger about life somehow allowed for a connection in a safe place. It’s something that we seem to forget in our everyday life and it made me realise that humanity is capable of love, compassion, generosity and kindness despite the fact that there is so much of the opposite in the world today.

Blaise, the book chick.