Illuminating History’s Shadows Through Fiction
Illuminating History’s Shadows Through Fiction

Tears of Appreciation

October 23, 2023

Happy TearsI’m coming close to the end of a very long road, one I travelled with people long dead. It was a journey I volunteered for, not travelled with ghosts or imaginary friends, but a road trip with real people who just happened to be alive 200 years ago.

With days till that magical Amazon page appears, few know you have written a book. On the precipice of Red Clay, Running Waters making its debut there exists this brief space to reflect before the fact you wrote a book becomes very real.

In that brief window between these states of existence – between Writer and Author – I can’t help but reflect on my experience. When I do, genuine tears of appreciation spring to my eyes.

There are so many gifts, lessons learned, and people (living ones) I have met on this road that have changed me; a book could probably be written about it. Reading the final edits recently, tears came in sections they never appeared before. The changes, new to me, showed me clearly the contributions the editor made.

It occurred to me that there were many moments along the road to telling the Ridge’s story when I felt the same in a hundred different ways. People who helped to navigate unfamiliar terrain, who offered hospitality, encouragement, and wisdom along the way. To classify and enumerate would not do each of them justice, but as the African proverb says, ‘it takes a village’ to bring something like a book (or a child) to the world.

Yes, I feel all the things you would think I would feel – satisfaction, pride, nervous, excited, awe. But most of all I feel gratitude. I have been fortunate enough to be able to achieve one of the most important things on my bucket list and the experience far exceeded my expectations. No experience will ever replicate it because it was so much more than a book, although I would like to think the book can bring a portion of the gifts from my experience to the readers.

Curious doesn’t begin to express how I feel about John and Sarah’s story being read outside the small circles who know it. The trajectory of this experience is about to take a sharp turn, the velocity of travel picking up. Soon the pages being spit out by my printer will be replaced by a hard copy book with my name on it.

I am taking time to take a few backroads as I wrap-up this leg of the trip, reminiscing about the highlights and what is yet ahead. Sitting in the sun on a clear warm spring day in New Zealand, listening to the birds, I remind myself to savour these last moments. I am decidedly a different person after this trip, as John Ridge was after his. My journey will not change the fate of a nation, but it has changed me, much for the better.

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