It didn’t sink in that me, Liz had published a book when I first saw Stretch Marks and the familiar layout on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My Man and I hugged and toasted, but I felt more relieved than anything else.
Then the phone calls and emails made me flutter with sparing moments of happy, but it still felt distant.
It hadn’t sunk in until the afternoon I walked into my hometown bookstore, hardly pausing at the aisle displays, and headed for the Local Authors section. Seconds later I saw, gasped, and stared at the book cover I helped design.
I was a cliché: hands to heart, blushing, grinning, and rocking myself with enormous satisfaction and pride. I knelt down and stared from every angle, before taking photographs, oblivious to the fact that my rear end blocked the flow of busy traffic.
I was that author staring back at me in bold black print.
1520 Pacific Avenue / Santa Cruz, CA 95060 / Tel: 831-423-0900
After hearing from so many of you while you’ve been reading Stretch Marks or have just finished, I am heartened by the praise and enjoying the questions and curiosity!
It’s great that so many of you are intrigued with the scenes that didn’t make the final cut. There are so many scenes that every writer struggles with letting go of for the sake of the story. Stretch Marks was 300 plus pages when I first transcribed my journals and annotated it along the way.
My man reminded me of one of our favorite stories that didn’t make the cut.
In an earlier draft of Stretch Marks, I recounted when we removed the bandage from our daughter Sofia’s belly button and gasped at the beef jerky like stub hanging loose from our precious child. I could only shake my head when Marty looked at me for the answer.
“What did we do wrong?” he asked.
I made the mistake of thinking out loud. We had completely screwed up and deformed our little girl’s perfect body. My man raked his hair. I called my mother with a sinking feeling, wincing from head to toe. Would she laugh or admonish us?
“That’s wonderful!” I could hear her settling into her spot at the dining room table.
“My mother says it’s wonderful, and you should carefully remove it,” I walked back towards Marty, repeating every word my mother was saying to me.
“Of course,” Marty’s look of relief turned triumphant when he held up the shriveled and stinky stub while Sofia gurgled and kicked her tiny feet.
My mother’s reassuring voice steadied me.
I, in return, listed every minuscule detail to her as we inspected Sofia’s delicate rosy pink indentation.
“We should send it to her right away. She’s going to bless it and bury it along with all the other grandkids belly buttons.”
I found an empty earring box in my dresser where we reverently placed the stub on a cotton lining and covered it with another billowy layer. Later we triple-bubbled wrapped the box before mailing it.
What an incredible feeling it is to know that Stretch Marks is making its way out into the world.
Thanks so much for buying Stretch Marks and recommending it to others. I love getting your phone calls and emails telling me how parts of my story have resonated for some of you.
Please help me get the word out about Stretch Marks by sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to rate Stretch Marks on Amazon, and adding even a brief review makes a big impact.
Can’t deny I’m disappointed that I didn’t make the final cut for the Listen To Your Mother show, but it was fun to audition and visualize myself on a San Francisco stage.
Since I won’t be reading it, I’d like to share it with you!
A Lioness in a Size Eight Pantsuit
I’m one of eleven children and grew up in a town where I was related to half of the population on both sides of the border. After delivering a perfect son and three civilized daughters, my mother unleashed a passel of boys in rapid succession into our neighborhood, where they terrorized prized rose bushes, cats, and mailmen. The bundles of steaming tamales and homemade cookies my mother sent along with apologetic note cards helped keep the police away, but the tragic fact that she had become a young widow is what kept our neighbors from running us out of town.
If we dared question her authority, a vein would protrude over her arched eyebrow; her green eyes darkening like old moss. This was her house, her rules. When we ran for cover to avoid a spanking, my mother chased us, equally fast on high heels or in fuzzy magenta slippers. If she couldn’t catch us, she used whatever she held in her hand to show us who was boss. She possessed a wicked right-handed throw and could land a potato right between our shoulder blades from a good eighty feet away. The sound of her satisfied laughter, as she felled us, only added insult to injury.
I’d always assumed I’d inherit her prolific childbearing capability and was devastated by my decades long struggle with infertility. When we finally adopted our toddler sons from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, I reveled that Spanish, my first language, reigned in our household as it did in my mother’s. Our eldest entertained us at dinnertime with bits of songs and phrases he’d learned in pre-school. He tumbled out syllables for milk then pointed to his plate, glass, and fork, translating each from Spanish into English, beaming with pride.
That moment swiped up a decades’ old memory of my mother swaggering into the kitchen one weekend while her brood polished off breakfast. She gestured with a rolled up Reader’s Digest for us to pipe down. A Mexican-bred debutante, sans high school diploma, she delighted in stumping her college-bound kids with newly acquired vocabulary from the Word Power section. Standing center stage in front of the stove, she scowled like Marlon Brando then addressed us as we scarfed our chorizo con huevos.
“I’m horny!” she yelped. “Hor-nee, hor-nee, hor-nee.” Punctuating each syllable with the Reader’s Digest like a conductor’s baton. Food and drink sprayed in every direction. Our side-splitting laughter stymied my mother. My brothers pretended horror while one of my younger sisters, in junior high, blanched and pushed her plate away.
“Well, I am,” she persisted and pointed to the bolded word as I read the entry.
“Ornery, Mom. You’re ornery.”
“That’s what I said, horny.”
Am kicking up my heels that Stretch Marks is now available in paperback on Amazon.com!
I’m writing this in disbelief that I’m no longer revising, designing, nor proofing.
What a relief!
And what a joy to have this opportunity to tell you a story. My amazing story.
writing these words in my journal, “Today, I become a mother. My arms will be full.” Emotions swelled like high tide that I was on terra firma to becoming a mother. The notion of transforming my journals into a book hadn’t taken root.
I spent the next few years overwhelmed by raising my toddler sons and adjusting to the considerable changes in my life. I had to accept that couldn’t have it all. I closed my web design business. I could only take on one day at a time.
And one day at a time, I began to write my story with the express purpose of wrestling with my doubts. One page at a time evolved into a draft then a bona fide manuscript.
Today, I’m finally holding Stretch Marks in my hands and opened up the paperback to this page.
It should be available on Amazon.com in a few days. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks!