I Marvel at Mockingbirds

The book proof for Thorncraft’s 7th title arrived in the mail during a late summer rainstorm while the sun was shining. As I opened the book, I suddenly heard bird songs and chatter, and I looked up expecting to see starlings or a similar flock.

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Cover designed by etcetera… Cover image by SaltH2Ophotography

 

I realize that they are mockingbirds. I’ve never seen this many mockingbirds in one yard. I count over 20 of them playing around the dying garden, in the field, flapping from cedar tree to fence to persimmon branches to vitex bushes. Around 30, I give up the count and watch as the birds swoop and the white of their wings flashes against the green of the field. They whistle, chip, tweet, chirpity chirpity chirpity, st-weeet with a little trilling laugh on the end of the call. The calls and songs are so varied that I grasp for ways to describe them. It’s better to listen and enjoy. I marvel at the similarity in this first volume of the BreatheYourOMBalance book, thoughtfully selected and introduced by S. Teague.

As I read through the stories and poems, I am taken aback by the number of voices moving through Thorncraft. I’m always grateful for each book. Each one has represented a different stage in the publishing process for me, new awareness, and growth into another form. Every book has been unique to the author and my relationship with that person, as I care for all of the books that we make throughout the process.

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The Breathe book includes work from 28 women who have enriched my experience as a publisher by sharing their voices, and some of them by opening themselves to working through the editing process. I’m humbled that they trusted me to share their ideas, and I’m proud of their courage and dedication, both of which shine in these stories about the transformative practice of yoga.

This is Thorncraft’s 7th book. Five books of fiction. One book of collaborative nonfiction. One series book about yoga by women. 4 book authors. 28 contributing authors. I marvel that this creative endeavor continues to grow and include women who make me proud to share their work.

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Now, the book proof goes into the trusted hands and under the “red pen” (she actually uses blue or black most of the time) of senior editor, Kitty Madden. In the meantime, we’re excited to share some blurbs about the book from authors as well as fitness and yoga instructors. Book Forthcoming, Fall 2016. Visit http://www.thorncraftpublishing.com for more details about all of our books and authors

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The Trail of Words: Running Words from 5K to Ultra

Words lead to not only more words, if you keep writing, they also create paths and spaces. I didn’t believe the land of words could be so much like trail running when I convinced myself to make words the focus of my career. I had to be careful, to share the trail with my authors, to know when to go it alone, to understand how to step back and “rehydrate” my author’s brain while being a publisher who represents other authors, and most enchanting, to discover new beauties and struggles on the writer’s path just as I discover them on the running trails.

I started a blog way back in 2005 with Yahoo360. It was like a couch-to-5K for my writing life which had soured into a ritual of grading English Comp papers and writing way too much feedback to the students. At first, like trail running, blogging hurt and I was getting about one hit an hour. How could this go anywhere? My forehead rested on the desk. I stumbled through writing about pregnancy and staying on target with one blog post a week. I was passed by professionals, out of my league. Winded and exhausted after those first attempts, I got wise and followed the people in social media to the MySpace blog world, and led a happy blogging life at blogspot, too. After a short time, I was content with these familiar trails, and I knew people on them, and it didn’t hurt so much anymore to expose myself as a writer. I blogged about motherhood and students in my classes. This was not nearly enough, even with thousands of hits. I yearned to write something more. It was time to add distance and a faster pace to my writing life. Through social media, I found Her Circle Ezine, and eventually became the Editor-in-Chief, wrote my own novel in the meantime, & tried to shop it.

The run was going strong and even getting hot, and my writing revealed more, new adventures. I helped with The Institute of Arts and Social Engagement with Misty Ericson, wrote articles about Mexican women for Lake Chapala Review magazine, interviewed bands & musicians for a Nashville music magazine, felt inspired to create books by women, and took odd writing jobs. Sometimes, I felt smothered by the trail. I couldn’t see my way out of it to the next place. There were traditional maps, but they weren’t working for me. I was in an endless loop. So, out of frustration, I started Thorncraft Publishing to publish my own novel, and then people joined me. I read Beverly Fisher’s novel, decided to publish another author, loved Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo’s work, jumped at the chance to publish her work too, and life kept going. The vistas open up sometimes, and allow more space. The trick is to keep going through the stumbles, brambles, heat, and more, until you reach new paths. Now, we’ve trained up for “ultras,” and in the running world this means 30+ miles per run. In our world of words, this means multiple books published every year, a literary magazine, a stage play, and more.

What’s happening now:
We have a new author at Thorncraft, Salty Teague. She and I wrote a book together earlier this year and launched it at Parnassus Books in Nashville. Seasons of Balance: On Creativity & Mindfulness is a self-help creativity journal, with poetry and stories thrown in the mix with affirmations and meditations. The book was chosen as a regional Wounded Warrior Project book, and Salty and I spent a beautiful afternoon at an event at The Yoga Mat that honored caregivers of Wounded Warriors.

The literary yoga journal, BreatheYourOMBalance Volume One will be finished later this year. Our open reading period was a success. Salty chose 28 contributors for the first volume of BreatheYourOMBalance: Writings about Yoga by Women (Forthcoming, Fall 2016). The contributors range from homeschooling moms to nurses, from yoga teachers to yoga beginners, from university professors to students. We are featuring the contributors on the Thorncraft website, so that you can read about them individually.

Salty and I continued working with everyone at The Yoga Mat by having writing workshops. Our next one will be Sunday, October 9. We are excited to partner with The Yoga Mat for Volume Two of BreatheYourOMBalance, which will focus on yoga and healing. Volume two will not be published until 2018.

Salty and I were promptly inspired to get going on a children’s book together. We’ve been planning it since last fall. You’re going to love the adventures of Luna the dog and Salty the raccoon. Forthcoming, 2017.

In 2015, Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher was adapted for the stage by Kari Catton and Dennis Darling, and performed at New Salem’s Theatre in the Park in Illinois. It was further adapted into a one act play by John McDonald, and performed in June 2016 at the Roxy Regional Theatre. We have more plans for “Grace” on stage in the future.

imageMelissa Corliss DeLorenzo is working on a new novel, but no word yet on what it’s about. She’s back on the blog, usually writing every week. She has several events this fall in Massachusetts, including the New Bedford Book Festival.

Check our Events page at thorncraftpublishing.com to stay up to date. The publishing website is updated weekly with the newest announcement and events.

Sacred Art & The Power of Support

Support. We all want it. What we create is sacred to us and requires building up & even, protection, at times. Support comes in a variety of forms–encouragement, freedom, sharing time and energy, giving, etc. We want family, friends, and even strangers to support what we do, what we create, and give us their blessings.

Kitty's art--created from found/donated objects

Kitty’s art–created from found/donated objects


My biggest supporters are my family and closest friends. I receive the support of sacred creativity from my friend and our Editor at Thorncraft, Kitty Madden. In her presence, I feel free to express my truth about art & creativity & business, free to talk about my interests, but I am also free to listen to nature and her poetic speech about her garden and art.
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Kitty’s singing water bowl


She is a healer, and through her belief in my abilities and actual follow-through, she helped to heal any excuses and self-doubt I had about making books.
Motivational artwork Kitty created as a chant & yoga movement for balance.

Motivational artwork Kitty created as a chant & movement for balance.

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She is open to expansiveness. I’ve changed the focus of my publishing company recently to open up to a book about yoga, and she has been encouraging & supportive in that endeavor. Being in her sacred space of found art & natural patterns, I am accepted & I accept her artwork.

Kitty's photo of me in her sacred art garden.

Kitty’s photo of me in her sacred art garden.


I write often about her, as her creative inspiration propels me forward every time I’m with her. She is more than an editor, she is an artist and a true friend to me for all the encouragement she gives. Being behind the scenes as an editor isn’t always easy, so I’m always happy to shine a light upon Kitty.
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This path is not glamorous or even glorious. Metaphorically, often it’s not marked adequately, and trails have to be blazed or re-cut. Sometimes, it is dark & mysterious, but we are following our truth to put new stories out into the world, stories that need to be heard. Kitty continues down this publishing path with me, pausing only to ask, “so what’s next?” I look forward to our future journeys together. I’m grateful for her inspiration and friendship.
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Yoga at Thorncraft & Grocery Cart Yoga

imageSometimes, I get the question, “so, why are you doing this yoga thing now?” It makes me laugh. I won’t go into the threads of yoga in my life and when they began and what they became at different times for me. Right now, yoga is becoming part of my publishing company’s journey, too. And, it’s fitting. Not only do I practice yoga, but so does Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo, one of the authors published by Thorncraft. In fact, Melissa wrote a blog in 2010 about how her children busted out their yoga moves in the grocery store for a public display of asana. While this blog is centered on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it’s the humor and overall zen quality of Melissa’s approach to mothering and accomplishing goals that captivated me (& caused me to laugh until I snorted). She has allowed me to publish it again here on my blog in a series about yoga and what we are working on for the future. Stay tuned and enjoy this hilarious story that most all mothers can relate to:

Grocery Zen with Children…yeah, right
By Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo
You know what’s one of my biggest challenges with NaNoWriMo? Finding time to go to the grocery store for the weekly shopping.
 
I remember when I was lying on the sonographer’s table and saw my twins in utero for the first time (BIG surprise), one of my first thoughts was how am I going to grocery shop with three little kids? But I figured it out: one baby in the car seat in the cart itself (yes, groceries piled around her), one in the baby carrier, my (then) two year old in the kiddy seat. As time went on, it morphed into one twin in the kiddy seat, the other in the carrier on my back and my little boy on foot. This arrangement worked beautifully for a long time.
 
Until recently.
 
The girls have decided they want to be neither on my back nor in the kiddy seat. So, I decided, fine, you can both go in the cart itself which prompted this facebook post once we returned home: Yes, I was THAT mother in the grocery store and my kids were THOSE kids. Everyone was probably relieved to see the extra big bottle of wine in the cart…
 
They have grown to be completely nuts in the grocery store. It used to be a piece of cake, but no more. Ella asked me recently if we were going grocery shopping. And I said, “I don’t think so, sweetie. Do you know why?” She said, “Cuz Ella and Lily don’t listen.” She’s right—they open packages of grape tomatoes in the aisles, they stomp on bags of flour, they toss things out of the cart, they pull labels off cans. And they think it is all hilarious. They yell as loud as possible and crack each other up. They try to jump out, too. And every shopper who walks by freaks out that they are imminently going to fall. I can sense them questioning my mothering skills. Something about the grocery store brings out the evil in my daughters. I’m sure everyone else thinks it’s quite comical, but I am the nut saying things like, “If you don’t stop crushing our food, you are going to lose the privilege of grocery shopping with Mommy!” While I am saying these crazy things, they are singing Ironman at the top of their lungs. (Thanks to husband for introducing Black Sabbath to my precious children…)

So, here’s the thing: I go out on Thursday nights alone. I go and write. There are times when I go and read or stare at nothing. I just like being alone while drinking my nice little latte without anyone touching me. Once, my husband jokingly said on my Thursday night, “You look nice,” (which meant, I think, oh you showered). “You going to meet some guy?” And I said, “No. The last thing I want is someone touching me or trying to talk to me.” This was when we were in the thick of two babies and a toddler, when the best personality trait a person could possess was the ability to hold it together when presented a broken cracker.
 
So, ever the optimist, and attempting to preserve the sanctity of my Thursday night writing time, I decided to try shopping with them again. This was the next facebook post:Remember that time I said I would never go grocery shopping with the kids again? Well, I mean it this time.

Getting to the point, I started using part of my Thursday nights to grocery shop, sans kids. But it’s NaNo time now and I cannot afford to utilize any of my precious Thursday nights for anything but writing. (See? This does have something to do with writing!) I was more determined than ever to make our grocery shopping together work. Damn it.

My new tactic: two carts! One for the kids, one for the food.

Here is the one with the food—peaceful and tranquil:
 (You can imagine it with produce)
You saw the photo of the kids at the top of the page. That photo documents a semi-good moment in the shopping experience. Soon after, they were dumping water on the floor and doing Downward Facing Dog from the top of one side of the cart to the top of the other. All while chanting the words to “Five Little Monkeys” as loudly as possible. Then they commenced to freak out at the check-out when they realized that it was logistically impossible for them to place (throw) the food onto the belt from their cart. I defied the laws of physics and figured it out. I’m sure someone from MIT will be contacting me.

Long story short, I really mean it this time. But not on Thursday nights. I gotta write.

(Someone know a way to stretch the week one little hour longer?)

I still managed to stay mostly on track this week. A little behind but I will catch up this weekend!
How’s your NaNo project going?

Visit Melissa’s blog at http://www.melissacorlissdelorenzo.com
Melissa’s blog was first publishing at Her Circle Ezine for The Writer’s Life blog. http://www.hercircleezine.com