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Flora’s Fur Coat- A Parable

Flora lived in the city of Chicago. The wind blew off the shores of Lake Michigan and whistled right through her winter clothing and into her bones. One day while out and about, she and her husband, Jim, stopped in a small fur shop on Michigan Avenue. She slipped on a white mink and instantly felt the warmth from the fur on this cold day. The silky coat wrapped itself around her in a caress. She thought of the minks that gave their lives for this coat. Their hide was so well suited for this cold Chicago weather. She was grateful. She fell in love with the whiteness of the fur and her long raven black hair looked stunning against the fur. The satin lining softened her skin. She knew she could never afford the sticker price so placed the fur back on the rack.

Her husband Jim noticed how the coat made Flora’s beauty shine and he saw the look of longing in her eyes. He made a mental note. They walked out of the fur boutique and continued strolling down Michigan Avenue but it was windy and freezing that afternoon so they soon headed back to their small apartment for some hot chai tea.

Open Book Launch Day for Sunlight on My Shadow

Sunlight On My Shadow Book Launch

DMC and Sarah McLaughlin sing Just Like Me

Book Trailer for Sunlight On My Shadow

An Expert on Shame?

My writing teacher said I was an expert on shame. I was flattered. I hadn’t thought of it that way but since I lived with the shame related to my teen pregnancy for forty years and today it is gone, I must have learned something about it. Through writing Sunlight on My Shadow, I came to understand how shame clouded my vision.
Sure people would have thought poorly of me back in 1967.

Sunlight on My Shadow Book Launch Party-You are Invited

On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the publication date for Sunlight on My Shadow, City Creek Press will host a book launch party featuring author, Judy Liautaud. Judy’s memoir tells the heart-wrenching story of a birth mother’s journey from secrecy to renewal.  The event will be held  at the Target Performance Hall in the OPEN BOOK/ Loft Literary Center.  It is located at 1011 Washington Avenue South in downtown Minneapolis and will start at 2:00 pm.  Several author/speakers will be present and wine and cheese will be served.   This is President’s Day Weekend so hopefully,  the long weekend will make travel easier for all.  Please save the date and invite your friends and family. The event is free to the public.

Publishing Sunlight on My Shadow

During June and July, I worked half-heartedly trying to find an agent and a publisher. I sent about 20 query letters to agents and small presses.  I heard back from about eight of them with the words, “not for us.”  Many posted something like this on their web page: “If you don’t hear from us in six weeks, consider this a negative signal.”  I wasn’t surprised. Not that I am in the same league but,  I knew that JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was greeted with many rejections.  Steven King had the same hurdles.

I had worked for four years on my memoir and now it was ready, how could I keep sending these letters and waiting for a year or more with a slim chance of success? 

From the booklet by Brenda Ueland, “Tell Me More on the Fine Art of Listening”

I just love this excerpt.  I have read Brenda Ueland’s little booklet many times and am inspired by her wise words.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. Think how the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays.

This is the reason: When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. You know how if a person laughs at your jokes you become funnier and funnier, and if he does not, every tiny little joke in you weakens up and dies? Well, that is the principle of it. It makes people happy and free when they are listened to. And if you are a listener, it is the secret of having a good time in society (because everybody around you becomes lively and interesting), of comforting people, of doing them good.

Writing Practice

“Writing is like driving the car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”   quote from E.L. Doctorow

So true.  When you think you don’t know what to write about, you just start writing and then write some more.  Soon the story sifts out and draft upon draft eventually becomes a book.  That’s how I did it.  It took me four years but I loved the writing, especially on the days when tears dripped onto my laptop.  Then I knew I was getting at what mattered.

Writing for me is a spiritual practice, like meditating, or yoga.  I write in my journal everyday and just put down any thoughts that are swirling around in my head.  I find it to be a sort of purging or a way to get in touch with myself.  Sometimes I discover new ways to look at my problems and when I close up my laptop, I think OK, that problem doesn’t really have the turbulence it did.  My psyche is restored to calm waters.

Telling My Secret: My Brothers’ and Sister’s First Read

I recently gave my book, Sunlight on My Shadow, to my three brothers and my sister.  After working on it for four years, I was a bit timid to be laying it all out there.  I wondered if they would think I put Dad in a poor light.  I wondered if they would feel like it would be better to keep a tight lid on my story. None of them knew the details because, in 1967, when it happened my father instructed my brothers and sister to tell everyone that I had a kidney disease and that was why I had to go away.  They weren’t even supposed to tell the real story to their spouses.  Then,  when I left, no one visited me or said anything when I came home.  They never asked what it was like at the home for unwed mothers, or asked about the birth, or about giving away my baby.  It was to protect the secret. So for decades the story was kept in some cryptic place in our hearts.

Only a few days after I had sent the book, I got a phone call from my brother John.