Posted by: alegra22 | November 12, 2010

Milk & Ink

With my drama queen flair, I had envisioned announcing the launch of this charity project on my blog with perfect timing and all kinds of spectacular flourishes, neatly embedded links (which I still haven’t figured out how to do), and complete with clever summaries of the contributing authors and their stories. I’ve realized that The Moment has passed. I still don’t know how to do simple things like embed a link and all my flourish has hidden itself in the pile of dirty dishes taunting me from the sink. My cleverness is lost in the bags that need to be packed for our trip. My drama queen slumps off to the corner and admits defeat.

Meanwhile, the holiday season rolls on. So here it is:

I will be posting more about the content – a blog with teasers from the contributed essays, poetry, and short stories. For now, let me say that I am very proud of this baby. All of the proceeds go to a worthy cause: We have a dream of being able to donate one thousand dollars and we are reliant on the word of mouth of others.

If you are looking to give a great holiday gift that does double duty by giving twice, please consider investing in our anthology. It is bursting with the voices of women from all walks of life and experiences of motherhood and features both award winning writers and those just starting out on their writing journey.

I will let the intro that I wrote for the anthology explain the origins and spirit of the project:

Almost four years ago, I was thirty-two weeks pregnant with my second child, and only daughter, alone and bleeding in a hospital room from a placental tear. My first child had been born full-term weighing 5 pounds 7 ounces. I was terrified of how small and vulnerable she would be if born eight weeks early. Waiting for my husband to arrive, it was just me, my prayers, and the fetal monitor filling the room with my daughter’s heartbeat. I pulled out my journal and wrote her a letter, promises about our lives together. It was in those promises that this anthology was conceived.

            I wanted Zaviera to inherit two things from me: the knowledge that she is loved unconditionally and the courage to pursue her dreams. Up until then, I had been slowly edging around my writing. It was the one thing I returned to over and over again since childhood. The desire to be a writer was a secret garden in my heart. I have memories of climbing up into the nested body of a giant eucalyptus, pen and notebook in hand, spiders crawling over peeling bark, sunlight filtering through leaves, to compose a novel. I found contentment in the wealth of smooth writing lead, the click of the mechanical pencil, my words filling the pages. I’d been writing since I was six years old but I’d never had the courage to say: I want to be a writer.

            Zaviera was born at 35 weeks. She weighed six pounds, a perfect newborn. Several months after her birth, I started to make good on my promises to her. I entered my essay, “Salamander Prayer,” in the 76th Annual Writer’s Digest competition. I thought I was dreaming big in my hope to make it into the honorable mentions, so when I found I had won the grand prize, I felt like some vivid brand of luck had fallen from the sky and marked me. Part of that prize, the publishing package, is what you hold in your hands.

            What I’ve learned so far on this path is that we do not dream in solitude. We take a step toward our dreams and our dreams take a step toward us – in the form of other dreamers. We need one another as parents and as people. The wealth of my life, the opportunities unfolding before me, they are the result of this two-step process. I want this anthology to continue this recognition of support, to gather up other women who have found the courage to pursue their passions, for themselves, for their children, and then I want it to expand and create more fulfilled dreams for women who dream of things like clean water, food, and shelter for their children.

            Now that you have purchased this book, you are adding to that expanding dream. I am grateful to you.

Eros-Alegra Clarke


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