Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post from author Melissa Goodwin

GUEST POST by Melissa Ann Goodwin, Author of The Christmas Village
(and a book give-away!)

 Finding Your People
In recent years, actress Shirley MacLaine has become known as much for her unusual beliefs about aliens and spirituality as for her movie roles. She lives here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when her book came out a few years ago, I went to the book signing. Yes, she has some offbeat ideas, but I discovered that she makes a lot of sense about certain things. The one thing she wrote about that really resonated with me had to do with this idea of “finding your people.”

The gist of her point was that we are born into a particular family, but that we spend most of our life looking for “our people” outside of that birth family. Some of our family members may be “our people” and some may not. I think there are many people who feel so different from their other family members that they wonder if they were adopted, or if they really were abducted by aliens!

So, off we go into the world, seeking out those to whom we feel connected on a deep soul level. In romantic relationships, we call them our Soul Mates. But this idea of soul mates can go beyond just romantic partners – it can apply to all those in our lives whom we truly call Friend. These are the people who see our flaws and still celebrate us; the ones who show up for us; the ones who sincerely root for us; the ones who “get” us.

A few years ago, I became a yoga teacher.  I started teaching at a studio here in Santa Fe, where the teachers have well-established followings. I began by subbing classes. Sometimes no one would show. Sometimes a person would come in, see that there was a sub, turn on her heels and go. Ouch. But then, new people came. And the next time I subbed, they came back. They told people the new teacher was pretty good, and the next time, a few more came. Eventually I had my own classes, and I developed a following. My people had found me and I had found my people – the ones for whom my style of teaching yoga resonated.

I think it’s very much the same for us as writers. Sometimes we want to achieve some concept of “success” so much that we write things that we think will please a certain audience. Are vampires still in? Should I write about vampires? I heard that zombies are the new vampires – shall I write about zombies?

What we need to do is take a deep breath, pause, and ask ourselves: What kind of books do I like? What kind of book have I dreamed of writing? If I love zombies, and have a great idea for a story, I should write it! But only because it’s truly what I love, not just because I think there is an audience for it out there. Because if my heart isn’t in it, then I won’t truly find “my people,”  and my people won’t find me .

So, like the yoga teacher, showing up to share what I know and hoping that students will come, find something of value, and return again, as a writer I write what moves me and hope that among the many readers who try me out, one or two will like my work enough to return. Like yoga students, our readers may not show up in droves, they may show up one by one. But over time, those ones and twos become threes and fours, and eventually, we’ve got a following. By being true to ourselves, we’ve found our people.

Thank you, Melissa for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us. I totally agree with your idea about us searching for others who will "get" us in life. You and I somehow found each other in Blogland and we definitely "found our people!"

I've always found Shirley MacLaine fascinating, too. I loved her book, Out on a Limb, about her spiritual travels, and the movie that was made about it. Whether we believe what Shirley believes doesn't really matter. It's the search for spirituality.

I'm highlighting Melissa on my blog today because, well....she's my people!....But, also because she's just published a fabulous children's book, The Christmas Village. 

** AND One lucky winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy! All that is necessary to be eligible is to leave a comment. That's it. So please get in on this fun, book give-away and tell all your friends, too!**

** The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, November 8th. **

I received my copy last week and it is beautiful. It's not a picture book, or what I would really refer to as a "children's" book. Its size is approx. 5x8 with 189 pages. Melissa said the reading level is ages 9 and up, which is technically middle grade, but younger advanced readers can read it, too. She's also known teens who read and liked it, plus parents and grandparents can read it to the younger ones. So, I'd say it's a book for all ages to enjoy!

Click on the link below to see the incredible book trailer, and then below that is the link to Amazon.

*Note: I've been forgetting to thank my new followers, so I'll catch up right now!
Welcome to my newest followers, Rebecca, Clarissa Draper, Patti and Cheryl. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! Actually, Patti has been a follower for a long time, but her little picture keeps disappearing! Thanks for noticing, Patti. I wondered why I lost a follower the other day! :)
“I hoped that the trip would be the best of all journeys: a journey into ourselves” -- Shirley MacLaine