Just a thought… No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. [Eleanor Roosevelt]
Well, how nice it is to see you back here again! I’ve so been missing writing lo, these past two weeks, but my mind and my editor/IT guy/husband needed a break. A rest and recharge. (Except for the massive excitement of Saturday night’s Raptors’ win! Now…we await Thursday….)
With just one week until I’m in the GTA again full-speed-ahead for book events, there are a couple of BIG announcements!
Just last Friday (which also happened to be his birthday) my dear friend and partner Mike Cooper agreed to jump in and host an event next Tuesday (a week tomorrow) at the Flato Markham Theatre. You’ll find details on tickets here – it’s the 2 pm version of Reclaiming Joy (with me); the 7 pm show will feature CTV’s Beverly Thomson as host and interviewer. The 2 pm show was added rather last minute and Bev had to work during the day on CTV, so Mike said, “Sure, I’ll be there!”
It should be an amazing, funny and touching conversation. There are still some seats from the 10th row back, and down the sides for the afternoon, so get them today if you can and we’ll see you at 2 pm next Tuesday with Mike Cooper, or at 7 pm with the wonderful Beverly Thomson!
As if that’s not enough, we’ve gotten confirmation that after the success of this spring’s Amsterdam/Belgium trip, we WILL be taking over an entire Ama Waterways riverboat in October 2020 during Canadian Thanksgiving. It meanders from Switzerland to the Netherlands and Mike and I (your hosts along with New Wave Travel again) will be taking part in a webinar this Wednesday at 2 pm EDT if you want to join or just listen in! I’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow or Wednesday but it’s going to be epic.
Now…where was I?
It was refreshing to take the time to do a little reading: I felt as if I’d spent a few solid days with a good friend, but it was someone whom I have yet to meet. (I’m guessing now that I am out of the interviewing business, it’s not likely to happen, but I can’t give up a glimmer of hope.) And this woman knows hope: it’s former US First Lady Michelle Obama.
Rob and I were given her #1 bestselling autobiography Becoming by his sister Susan last Christmas, but I needed to have a clear head – and slate – in order to make time to immerse myself in Michelle’s story. Early on in the book, I read of her friend Suzanne’s death at 26 (cancer) and how it sparked in then-Michelle Robinson an awareness of the importance of stopping the climb and seeking joy once in a while.
This particular entry in the book resonated very clearly with me as I reflected upon Suzanne’s seeming attack on life: long before she got her deadly cancer diagnosis, she was intent on observing and pursuing a different set of priorities from her laser-focused Princeton University roomie, Michelle. It seemed to me an echo of what Rob and I have believed about our own daughter: she seemed subconsciously aware of a deadline, and sped up her own timeline to meet her lofty goals. So there was sadness in reading those pages, but also a resounding “hear, hear” to MRO’s message of being enough, doing what you need to do to feel fulfillment and recognizing that the gift of time does run out for us all.
But Mrs. Obama inspired me in yet another way: late one afternoon as I was searching for details on one of my appearances next week at a Chapters Indigo store, I came across a 2-star-out-of-5 review of my book from a man who’d read it and left his opinion on a website. (When I saw the two stars, an inner voice said, Don’t read it! but my curiosity won out.) I’m glad I did. I disagree with his opinion, but if everyone liked the same books, there would be a super long waiting list at the library, right?
Then I went and looked for reviews of Mrs. Obama’s mega-bestseller Becoming and, sure enough, on an adjacent site, someone said she was skipping through early chapters because in her words it was “boring.” But what the woman’s complaint centered on were the formative childhood and university years. Her “review” specifically mentioned “college roommates.” And yet, that story of her college roommate is the one that resonated with me most clearly.
So, I’ll call that a “bonus feature” of Becoming. A reminder that the question a young Michelle Robinson often asked herself – Am I enough? – won’t always be answered “yes” by the people around you. But when the answer inside you is resoundingly positive, that’s almost entirely all that matters.
I’ll have more for you here tomorrow. I’m so excited to be back – and glad you are, too.