Gratitude. Overwhelming gratitude. Abundance. Blessings. These phrases come to mind as I sit here to write to you, whoever you may be!
You know how the ocean sucks in just before a big wave comes? For the past month, I have felt as if my life had retracted into stillness in advance of a big wave. I could feel it coming, rumbling, rushing toward me . . . and yet everything was eerily still and waiting. Anticipatory. And now, I am happy to say, the CRASH has arrived! I am so excited to feel that rush of completion and arrival wash over me.
What the hell are you talking about, Laura? Stop speaking in metaphors, girl, and give the people some information!
First of all, let's talk about my new video for "I'm Still Here." If you are on this website, you've probably seen it, since it's on the homepage of the site. It's the one where I channel all my favorite butt-kicking heroines, like Judy Garland (love her so much!), Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Tina Turner, Madonna, etc. to kick cancer's butt. I remember the exact day I wrote this song: It was one of my good days during my cancer treatments, about a week before the next infusion. Feeling energized, I pulled a black and white striped knit cap over my bald head, strapped the leash to my beloved black and white Boston Terrier, Buster, and waltzed into the crisp early Spring morning for a little jaunt around my pretty neighborhood. As I walked, I felt like this was a victory lap. I was winning, long before Charlie Sheen. I just knew it: I was beating cancer's ass. "I kicked you hard and I'm not sorry," I told cancer in my internal dialogue. "I beat you up and it felt good." This idea started to sprout wings, and I continued my mental conversation: "Get out! Stay out! Time's out! And I'm starting all over!" The song rushed to me, and I felt like I was walking three feet off the ground. "I'm still here!" Though chemo had temporarily taken my hair and eyebrows, I felt like a superhero! And right then, I took off my knit cap, and bore my bald superhero head to the whole world for the remainder of the walk home!
Now, fast-forward about two and a half years from that superhero moment, and my music video for that song is chasing 900,000 views in just a couple weeks on Youtube! And those are not just numbers on a Youtube ticker --those are real people with whom I've shared my truest self. That video represents who I am and what I believe better than anything I've ever done (along with the lyrics to Heart Inside Your Palm, I'd say). I hate to sound morbid, but I want my "I'm Still Here" video shown at my funeral (though the title would be a bit awkward, I'll admit) -- and, don't worry, I'm talking decades from now, hopefully, I haven't had any bad news, all is well. That video shows who I am and what I'm about to a tee. I dare to be my goofy self, to be so uncool and silly . . . because life is too short and there is nothing to lose! Anyway, I've digressed -- so, this video is quickly barreling towards 900,000 views, and I'm getting emails from people who have been touched by cancer and loss, and they tell me the video makes them laugh and cry. That the video touches them and inspires them and brings them some small amount of comfort and hope, and makes them feel less alone. BOOM! This is why I do this. I am electrified that I am able to do this. Gratitude!
By the way, the guy who directed/shot/edited my video is an incredibly talented and big-hearted guy named Kurt J. Zendzian. He worked so hard on it, and he deserves tremendous recognition. The video required weeks and weeks of exhaustingly hard work by Kurt, as he rendered special effects and computerized backgrounds -- none of which is easy to pull off. Throughout it all, Kurt made me laugh until my sides hurt and became a close and beloved friend. And his team reflected his incredible talent and attitude, too. Max Moraga, cameraman and co-editor, who was awaiting his first baby at the time of the shoot (shout out to little Lyla!), was incredibly fun and creative and so easily coaxed my most relaxed self out of me. And Rebekah, photographer and PA, just made everything easier -- and man, she has great ideas, too. (Who else would have thought to transform the Dorothy wig for Louise (Thelma??) hair??). Thanks to all of you, I love you all. Gratitude!
Another reason I feel overwhelming gratitude is this: My book is coming along, and every day it gets more and more real, and more and more exciting, and closer to being in your hands! The cover art is finished! Seal Press did a great job, and we finally have a cover that visually conveys the spirit of the book. I think you will like it. There was a lot of thought that went into the cover, believe me! It is a thrill and relief to have that accomplished. Hopefully, I will be able to post it for you very soon! The editing on the book is all done, and we now have these advance copies that are being sent out to media and high profile people for blurbs. You know, the quotes on the cover that say "I love this book! I couldn't put it down! Electrifying, mesmerizing, a page turner!!!!" (Hey, if any big celebrities are reading this and want to steal any of those for your blurb, I hereby grant you full rights to these gems.) So, those have gone out, and I sit around every day staring at my email and phone, wondering if some exciting call is going to come in, telling me that one of my heroes has agreed to write a blurb for the book. (Because, actually, one of my heroes actually DID agree to write a blurb for the book, so now I know this can actually happen.) Another thing I do on a weekly basis, without fail, is open my favorite weekly magazine to the book reviews section. I read the book reviews, and then I put my hand on the pages and dream and imagine and wish and hope and pray that my book will be reviewed (and enthusiastically, I might add) on those pages one day. I am not exaggerating here. I literally do this every single week. I literally touch the pages and imagine my book listed there with a favorable review. Ok, so I've been doing this for many months, ever since I got my book deal, pretty much.
Now, fastforward to yesterday. I had just sent yet another "hi, just checking in" email to a gentleman in the music/entertainment industry I'd met two years ago, and with whom I've exchanged a handful of emails. A month ago, I had sent him an advance copy of my book, and wanted to make sure he'd received it. This man is a true visionary and a very kind-hearted and lovely man who is devoted to his family and making the world a better place, and he's also a very successful businessman. Since our paths crossed a few years ago, he has been kind enough to keep in touch with me and reply to my occasional emails to say "keep it up," and "I am proud of you," and other varying words of much appreciated encouragement that I should continue to follow my dreams. After sending the email to this nice and very busy man, I felt a sense of completion and letting go. I happened to speak with my literary agent, Jill, moments after sending that email. "You know, Jill," I said, "I think I've done all I can do on the book for now," I told her. "Now, I think it's time to have some faith and see where this hard work leads. I just need to have some faith." This was yesterday, people. This morning, I woke up, and in reply to my "just checking in email," the nice big wig man wrote to say yes, he did get the advance copy of the book I'd sent him, thank you; and he also said he would appreciate some more copies because the night before, he gave my book to the head of my favorite magazine! Yes, the magazine I've been caressing and dreaming about being in for the better part of a year! (No, I am not mentioning the name of the magazine because I don't want to jinx anything, AND also to be honest I'd like to avoid humiliation if (a) my book ultimately is never mentioned there; or (b) is mentioned there but panned (which they'd never say, because, frankly, I'm really proud of the book).) I know this story has not reached "completion" yet . . . the book was simply given to the magazine -- but I am a believer in celebrating each baby step on a cherished journey! And, hey, knowing the head of my favorite magazine was holding MY book in his/her hands, hearing about MY story . . . it gives me goosebumps!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gratitude! Blessings!!!!!!! One small step, but a giant leap toward fulfilling another dream!
Gratitude! Blessings! Abundance! There is so much to be thankful for!
I cannot wait to see where this all leads . . . . I have faith it will be a wonderful ride!