On Friday, I opened a tiny manilla envelope and pulled a paperback from its unadorned, nestling spot. I’d been waiting for it without reminding myself to stalk the mailbox. It was an inexpensive gift, a healing Present to myself. I came across it as I panned free Kindle titles and then branched out to other categories of books. It’s old. Yellow leafed. Delicate. And a survivor. Like the women whose stories are captured in its thin pages. All 284 pages. I have heard of the author, a survivor, too. Charlotte Pierce-Baker, PH.D. According to the back of the book, she is a “research professor of English and women’s studies at Duke University. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.”
The book was copy written in 1998 and first published as a Norton paperback in 2000.
Googling her just now, I learned that today she is Charlotte Pierce-Baker, a professor of Women’s And Gender Studies and English at Vanderbilt University. Without knowing her personally, I am proud of her. The picture that accompanied the paragraph identifying her as the author of a new book, “This Fragile Life: A Mother’s Story of a Bipolar Son,” is attractive. There is the same wide, vibrant smile she is smiling in the picture on the rear of “Surviving the Silence.” In her face is a mixture of races, Spanish and African-American, I surmise. Reading further, I learn she is on a speaking/reading tour, and her topic is mental illness/bipolar disorder, something I recently discovered on Facebook, two nights ago, that is hugely affecting African-American women, amongst others. Something that is going silent, untrumpeted, with little to no research to give it a face in the Black community. I discovered that so often it is heralded as a white girl’s disorder amongst Blacks.
Last night, I read several pages into Dr. Pierce-Baker’s book to discover this Margaret Atwood quote:
A word after a word
after a word is power.
It is from “Spelling,” True Stories (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1981), p. 64.
I am a staunch believer in receiving what you need when you need it, via the Divine. Charlotte Pierce-Baker’s book is what I need right now. It is my guide, my holding post, my marker. From it tonight, Saturday night, which has now slipped into a wet Sunday morning, I read the “Beginnings” chapter and Part One: “Personal Narrative.” I couldn’t read the pieces fast. They were heavy, emotion soaked. So I read them slow and them rose to shift my energy, to keep it flowing.
The book’s complete title is “Surviving the Silence: black women’s stories of rape.” Toni Morrison’s endorsement is on the cover. She writes: “A book of such intelligent humanity its shocks strengthen us, and its terrors enlighten us…Demand reading.”
Although I initially intended Atwood’s quote from Charlotte Pierce-Baker’s book to be the powerful sentence in this post, I now know it isn’t. My simple, powerful sentence is, I am a rape survivor, who has decided to shatter the Culture of Silence and leave it like so many shards of glass leading to healing, peace and restoration.
Morning, Book Lovers!
My first book recommendation for December is Elisa Lorello’s FAKING It. You can pick it up on Amazon for the fab price of $0.99. Published in 2011, the novel tells the story of “writing professor Andi Cutrone and what happens when she meets Devin at a cocktail party.” In 285 pages, the author paints an unforgettable coming together of two people and, most importantly, the story of how they came to stand naked to the soul, one before the other. But imagine that, Andi invites Devin to teach her how to love in exchange for writing lessons. Now that’s fascinating in itself, but add the delicacy of their interactions delving “into deeper questions about truth, beauty, and self.” Makes you think of what could possibly happen if you rounded the corner and she was standing there and the possibilities of where the “chance” meeting could go….
Best Selling Author Jo Linsdell Talks about Self Publishing
For me the decision to self publish was Plan A. Partly because I wanted to learn as much as possible about the publishing process and being a hands on kind of learner this seemed like the best option, but also partly because I’m a control freak. I liked the idea of calling all the shots.
The stigma attached to self published books has changed drastically over the years. It’s no longer for those who got rejected. It’s a conscious choice that even big names in the industry are opting for. Stephen King, Jackie Collins and a whole host of other world famous authors have turned down their publishers and gone it alone.
People like Amanda Hocking are inspirational examples of how independent publishing has changed in recent years. Of course not all indie books will have that kind of success but it shows it can be done and brings credibility to the industry.
When I published my first book, Italian for Tourists back in 2006, I knew I wanted to self publish it. I was eager to know as much as possible about everything to do with the publishing industry and wanted the experience of doing it all myself. If I’m honest it started out as a bit on an experiment. People had told me I should write a book millions of times over the years and then when I moved to Rome, Italy requests for a phrasebook followed quickly. I figured I’d give them what they asked for and use it to see if I had what it takes. Turns out I did. The book has been (and continues to be) a constant seller since it was released.
Having had a successful experience I’ve never looked back. Sure I’d consider going a different route if a Publisher offered a million dollar contract (who wouldn’t?). For now though I’m very happy and proud to be a self published author. My children’s books are doing great. Out and About at the Zoo is still a best seller (it hasn’t left the lists since it’s release last year) and my latest book Fairy May (another rhyming children’s picture story book that came out on 1st February this year) is also doing well.
Self publishing isn’t a taboo or a last resort. It’s a choice and one I’m happy to have made.
Jo Linsdell is an award-winning blogger and freelance writer living in Rome, Italy. She is also the author of several books including the popular Italian for Tourists, A Guide to Weddings in Italy and the best selling children’s picture book, Out and About at the Zoo. Her latest book Fairy May was released on 1st February 2013. You can find out more about her at http://www.JoLinsdell.com