Today is the 'birth' day of The Intentional Weaver. It was a long time coming. I would start, then Life would Happen, and I'd stop. And the file would sit - for months at a time, until another student would contact me about things I had taught in a workshop or class, asking for clarification or additional information, and I would sigh, open the file and begin pecking away again.
As the years scrolled on by, the file grew. I edited. Clarified. Looked up additional resources. Refreshed my memory, edited again.
Eventually the file became...large. But Life Kept Happening, and the file would go 'stale' again while I dealt with stuff.
Nearly five years (!) after beginning I had sent the file out to alpha readers, done my best to incorporate their feedback, but once again, Life Was Happening. Mom had died December 31, 2016, and by the end of 2017 I was pretty sure the cancer was back.
It was too much.
As I drove to the cancer clinic for the video conference with the oncologist in Vancouver, I was stopped at a red light, tears beginning to flow down my face. I had been working on the manuscript (it was truly not just a 'file' by this point - it looked like a book - sort of - and I had been using the word manuscript for a few months.)
As I sat at the red light, trying to wrestle the latest feedback into the manuscript, wondering if I was facing another round of chemo, the tears came.
And something inside me cracked wide open and I saw I needed help. I could not go on, all by myself.
Suddenly a name popped into my head. Someone I knew who did technical editing. And as the light changed to green, I knew what I had to do.
When I got home I emailed her and asked how much she would charge to help me edit my manuscript and if she could fit me into her schedule.
She said 'yes', and away we went.
After multiple back and forths, sending the increasingly cumbersome manuscript, we arranged for her to come here for a massive, intensive overhaul of the manuscript and she took photos to use. Too many of mine just weren't good enough quality - her iphone took way better photos than my 'elderly' digital camera. She went home with the photo files and we were both feeling like a watershed moment had been reached.
She worked on my file, sending me questions, comments, we hashed out the issues, I added more content, designed projects, wove them, went down to her to consult in person, and then, finally she said that we had done our best, it was time to pick a 'birth' date.
Looking at the calendar, I saw that we were entering the holiday season soon, and it seemed like a really good idea to launch in time for Christmas. But the US has their Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November, so I didn't want to be part of the travel crunch surrounding that. I asked if I could come the end of November, and chose December 2 as the birthdate. I figured that was early enough people could purchase via blurb.com and potentially get hard copies in time for gift giving.
So I booked a ticket to go to her a few days in advance of the Dec. 2 date so that the final polish could be done, and the files uploaded to the website. She worked all weekend getting everything sorted, and on Dec. 2, we announced that A Book was Born.
So why Dec. 2, not Nov. 30 or Dec. 1?
Because Dec. 2 was also the birth date of my brother.
In many ways it was due to him that Magic in the Water finally saw light of day. He essentially gave me his rec room from April 2002 until we sold his house after he died to use as the assembly area to put that tome together and store it. When he died I realized that, even though he was younger than me, in many ways he was my rock. As children we didn't have much in common, given he was a boy and 6 years younger than me. But as we came into adulthood we became friends. Not, tell each other every detail of our lives every day kind of friends, but once in a while sit down and talk about philosophy (a grand word, but that is what we did - what's it all about, Alphie, types of talks).
We talked about all manner of things I rarely discuss with others. While neither of us has much beyond a high school education, we both read. He came to it 'late', discovering the joy of reading when dad got sick and he had to curb his enthusiasm. We both enjoyed music. When he died I inherited all his estate and discovered that we both pretty much liked the same types of music - but he had a different library and we only had two CDs in common.
He was a man of his word. Didn't suffer bullies. Or racists. His friends called him a catalyst. And it was, I think, that ability to stir people into action that got me to get The Intentional Weaver finally done. I did it in honour of my brother, Donald William Holzworth, 1956-2008. Who by dying, gave me my life in more ways than I need to explain.
So, happy birthday, Don. I miss you. I hope there are lots of trains for you to 'play' with in heaven. Because surely if there is a heaven, you are there.
Thank you, also, to Doug Fry, Ruth Temple, Mary Lessman, Cindy Dietzen, Marie Carmel and others who assisted with alpha reading along the way, Tien Chiu who provided the introduction, Janet Dawson and Syne Mitchell who gave cover blurbs.
Your support and encouragement will never be forgotten.
Don, in his happy place - the Little Prince steam loci