"Michelle O'Neil is a true writer, dedicated to sharing her story and experience with others. To read her work is to be inspired. She is a truly perseverant spirit." –JENNIFER LAUCK, author of New York Times Bestseller, Blackbird, Still Waters, Show Me the Way and Found.
There is a brief reference in Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar to a feud my brother and I had when we were growing up. On Wednesday evenings, I wanted to watch Eight is Enough. I loved that show. He wanted to watch The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, starring Dan Haggerty. We had to alternate weekly and it really chapped my ass.
What are the odds that Hollye Dexter, one of the writers I would ask to endorse my book, would be the niece of Mr. Haggerty? And how apropos that she alone, of all the many editors and persnickety writer friends who read it, noticed my typo.
In Hollye's good nature, she pointed out that Grisly Adams would be an excellent name for a bearded serial killer, should I ever want to venture off in that direction with my writing.
So I am thrilled with my new back cover blurbiness. Seriously. My back cover has gone through a complete metamorphosis over the last couple of months. Previously, I was still apologizing for existing and for writing this book at all. Trying to make it "light." Trying to assure the reader that, hey, I'm okay, you do not have to be afraid to read this book! The story is not too dark. Promise.
It was pitiful.
Now, I am endorsed by rock stars. Each one a true and brave writer whom I admire. Each one giving me a jolt of confidence with their nod of approval.
Jennifer Lauck, my first true writing teacher and the most beautiful memoirist. Queen of memoir. Blackbird, Still Waters, Show Me the Way, and Found. Every word, pure poetry. I am so honored that a writer of her vast wisdom and talent would endorse my book. She is and always has been so very generous to me.
Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney and A is for Ambien. Co-editor of the powerhouse anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom. Amy is a nurturing, loving, force for good in the world. She is a champion of other writers, other women, men, humanity. She is hilarious, and a heart breaking writer. She's got the funny, and the poignancy. All of it. I'm still pinching myself that she said yes to my blurb request.
Monica Holloway, her way with words, her books, make you feel like you are sitting down having a chat with a dear friend. She is one of those writers that is so good, she makes writing look easy. Her memoir Driving With Dead People about her dysfunctional childhood, and her memoir Cowboy and Wills, about her son on the autism spectrum and his special dog. Yeah...we have much in common. She's soul sister material.
And speaking of sisters, what about Carrie Wilson Link, author of Wil of God. We've been blogging sisters for over seven years. Her book is a beautifully written testament to blooming where you are planted, and embracing the relentlessness of special needs parenting, and life. Her constant championing of me over the years is humbling and I am so blessed to have her in my corner, and on my cover.
Hollye Dexter is author and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom and also head of media relations for Moms Demand Action (for gun regulation). I blogged about the Shame Prom, and then kept bumping up against her work, her blog, her piece in another anthology, etc. I so resonated with her work. She is a beautiful writer and fierce advocate/activist for children (and animals) and the world. I am so honored that she agreed to blurb me. She's quite the human.
Thank you to writer Jennifer Margulis, author of The Business of Baby who had the guts and the honesty to mention that my previous back cover was hideous. Because of her candor, I trusted her when she said the work was actually good. She is a tough editor. She wouldn't lie just to be nice. Every writer needs someone like Jennifer in their life!
I'm still not sure about the author photo. I've switched it up a couple of times. I'm kind of in transition looks-wise and don't feel I even know what I look like these days. I cut off all my hair, and stopped coloring, thinking I'd just be gloriously grey, and turns out I'm hardly grey at all, so now I'm just letting it grow out again. I decided since the goal is to grow it back down to shoulder length, this was the closest photo. I might change my mind.
But for now, the back cover is looking so much better. I can't believe I am swimming in the sea with these talented, tenacious, writerly women. People who say the writing industry is cut-throat, don't know these folks. Generosity abounds. I am full to overflowing with love and gratitude.
How does one escape the legacy passed
down by a damaged, alcoholic father? Fortunately, Michelle O Neil was born with
enough spunk and sass to rebel against what was modeled for her. As she comes
of age through the chaos of her family's dynamics, she looks for fleeting
glimpses of hope, and manages to find God in small, ordinary moments. A
charming and engaging read, you’ll be cheering for her every step of the way.
Recently I posted on my main website Full-Soul-Ahead! about a shift that is taking place in me. I am feeling more confident about Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar. As a result, I finally mustered up my courage and asked some truly glorious writers if they wouldn't mind reading it if they hadn't read it yet, and endorsing my book if they wound up liking it. I was so terrified to ask.
But they said yes. Every single one I asked said yes.
And what would have happened had they said no? Would it have killed me? No. I would have been a little sad. Perhaps embarrassed for having asked. But it still would have been a brave thing to do. I believe in my book. They would have had their reasons, but it wouldn't mean I did anything wrong by asking.
It is amazing the help that is there if you are brave enough to ask for it. Here are three endorsements. I'll have more coming in soon. I am humbled. Flattered. Grateful. Happy.
O'Neil is a true writer, dedicated to sharing her story and experience
with others. To read her work is to be inspired. She is a truly
perseverant spirit." –JENNIFER LAUCK, author of New York Times
Bestseller, Blackbird, Still Waters, Show
Me the Way and Found.
"Michelle O'Neilis a grand gorgeous HEARTBREAKING writer. You should go and buy this book, curl
up with this book, fall in love with this girl writer and shout her name from
the rooftops." -AMY FERRIS, author of Marrying
George, Confessions of a Midlife Crises and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories that Kept Us Small.
O'Neil has written an honest, brave, funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately
triumphant book. You will love her as Janie, a little girl born on the wrong
side of the tracks with the right set of gifts that carry her up and away from
it all, and into your heart. Forever." -CARRIE WILSON LINK, author of Wil
of God: Embracing the Relentless Love of a Special Child. And a bonus I didn't even ask for from a GeekMom at Wired.com who "devoured Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar overnight." I am so moved by these wonderful endorsements. I feel so much appreciation for writers who help other writers. Thank you, thank you! Amen.
Author Tanya Savko has started a new "5 Questions for..." series on her blog. It is designed to highlight authors who address topics that affect family relationships. Tanya is a very generous writer friend. It was her encouragement that tipped me over the edge to go forth with publishing Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar. I appreciate her. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. I am honored to be the first interview. Check it out here.
Today, NPR ran a story on a new memoir titled Drinking With Men. I have not read the book, but based on the interview, I left this comment on NPR.
I am author of my own memoir, Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar. I wonder if Rosie Schaap and others like her ever consider the possibility that the men she shares drinks and camaraderie with might be there at the expense of their marriages and children? If he's being the generous big spender buying the drinks, I wonder if she knows he's just blown his kid's lunch money for the next day, or the electric bill for the month? The subtitle of my book is: For every regular manning a barstool there is likely a family at home. I'm not saying it is Ms. Schaap's responsibility to know or care. I just used to get the willies when I heard someone, mostly drinking buddies, say what a swell guy my father was, when he was abusive and pissing our money and our family down the drain.
This piece seems to romanticize "bar culture." When the guy at the bar is your alcoholic dad, it isn't romantic at all.
I do realize I am seeing this through my own lens, and I can't speak to the experience of all bar regulars.
Healing is a cyclic ongoing process. During meditation today, I was surprised to note some feelings of resentment come up for my extended family when I was growing up. A specific uncle came to mind. He was always my favorite. He and his wife tended to avoid our sick family like the plague. And who could blame them?
But we'd see them occasionally, and he was funny, and fun, and I loved him and no...there is no way he could have ever saved me or my sibs from the experience we were having but here's what he could have done, had he known what to do. He could have taken me aside and said this:
"What you are going through right now, with your father's drinking and the poverty and the filth, is not your fault. It isn't okay. It sucks and you shouldn't have to deal with it. You deserve every good thing and it breaks my heart that you are living this way and I wish I could fix it, but I can't."
He could have gone on to say,
"What you need to know is this isn't you. You are better than this. You are not going to live like this forever. I see strength in you. I see your good loving heart. You are going to make it. You are going to excel. You are going to fly. I know this about you. I see it."
It would have taken two minutes to have that conversation.