My own truth is spoken in this poem so beautifully written.
Wise thoughts from my friend Becky M. Pourchot.
Over the past few days I’ve done some very important, very nonscientific social research. And lucky you get to hear the results–
So, my new book came out on Amazon a few weeks ago. (www.BeckyPourchot.com) The whole thing happened faster than I expected, and Amazon posted the paperback three days earlier than planned.
I was thrilled beyond belief when I saw it up there, so without much thought I shouted it out to the Facebook world sharing how absolutely ecstatic I was that my “baby” was finally out in the world.
My friends and supporters shared my post like mad. It was amazing.
There was one problem.
This “announcement” was too soon. The kindle edition wasn’t out yet, so people were heading to my site and the kindle version wasn’t there.
Nothing was choreographed like I hoped. My words in the post weren’t carefully crafted, just blurted out…
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“Can I have your name please,” asked the young woman behind the large registration desk in the hospital earlier today as she raised her eyes and looked at me stoically.
Glancing at her name tag, I said cheerfully, “Hi Nicole! I am Marybeth Jeitner and I’m here for a procedure. I had an appointment at 10:00 AM and I know I’m late. Sorry about that.”
Nicole smiled politely as she got busy on the computer to find my name. After some difficulty and a phone call to find out where I was supposed to be, she told me to go to the 2nd floor registration desk where she was sure I should be.
Nicole could not have known that my morning was already a comedy of errors. I was laughing to myself about how hard I had tried to be responsible to be where I’m supposed to be, dress appropriate to the situation (in this case, dressing down for medical professionals–dreads pulled back, no biker shirts and cover most of the tattoos, and shoes instead of sandals–my mother would be so proud), and be on time. But none of that went as planned. After receiving a call from the hospital nuclear medicine department that I needed to have the surgeon mark the spot for the procedure, at the exact moment I was ready to walk out my door, directions in hand, sweater for the air conditioned hospital, phone fully charged…well, you get the picture.
Now at that moment, I had choices:
1) I could be angry because no one told me sooner and because the delay was going to cause me to be late for my appointment. I’d have to spend time and money to go in the opposite direction to my doctor’s office first…if he could even see me to mark the spot. OR, 2) I could have chuckled and realized this is just life. This is my life. I continually get lessons about lightening up and not taking things so darned seriously.
So, to continue with my story, after having driven north to my doctor and then an hour south to the hospital, I found myself in front of Nicole, who could not find my name in her computer. Shaking off my desire to burst into laughter, I turned my attention to the beautifully clear sound of classical piano music in the large lobby. To my amazement there stood a magnificent baby grand piano. I couldn’t see the keys from where I stood but I was sure someone sat playing the melody I heard. I looked more closely but no one sat at the piano. Clearly the sound came from it. Suddenly an eerie feeling came over me and a story about a ghost who played the baby grand incessantly formed in my mind. I knew that writers see stories everywhere but never had one come to me in quite that way. It was exhilarating!
But my adventure was just beginning. On arrival at the registration desk on the 2nd floor, I was greeted by a woman whose facial expression said, “Who are you and don’t answer that because I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Smiling a little too much I think, I told her my name and why I was there. After searching several lists of names, she said, “I don’t have you here but I will find someone who can tell us where you are supposed to be.”
I began to notice that everyone I made eye contact with, smiled at me. My humorous attitude toward the fiasco was catching on. As I sat waiting, I noticed many others were waiting to be called for whatever procedures or surgeries they needed so I did what any writer would do, I began adding them to my burgeoning hospital story of the piano playing ghost. My imaginings were interrupted by the receptionist saying, “Mrs. Jeitner, I’m sorry but you are supposed to register downstairs.” Much to her surprise it seemed, I began to laugh. I told her it was okay and that I liked the ghost playing the classical piano on the first floor. She began to laugh with me as did several people who overheard us. I left them behind sensing I had made a small difference in there otherwise serious and difficult situations.
Standing once again in front of Nicole who was apologizing profusely as she hurriedly had me sign papers, I saw a forlorn, frail woman in a wheelchair nearby. Before long, we engaged in a conversation about the beautiful music being played by the ghost. Laughter rang out from surrounding offices as people within earshot, heard me telling the story of the pianist who was trapped in the lobby of the hospital causing havoc with the computers by his music which often had the effect of sending patients from floor to floor trying to find where they were supposed to be and kept receptionists pulling out their hair in utter confusion.
Finally my procedure was to begin so I bid adieu to my happy audience and as I turned to say goodbye to the gentle woman in the wheelchair, she looked up at me with the brightest eyes, and a smile from ear to ear. She waved a weak hand and we said goodbye.
My attitudes are catchy, this is true and I am a writer who sees a story in the most unlikely places. What began as a comedy of errors today, became an opportunity to bring a some joy where there was little and had the further effect of providing me with a beautiful picture emblazoned in my mind of a gentle, sad, frail woman in a hospital wheelchair who felt joy for a moment with me and perhaps because of me–a writer of stories.
Thoughts, ideas and comments are welcome.
As always, thank you for reading.
When Heather Chalmers and I decided it would be fun to write a children’s book about our adventure of saving Libbie, the rare yellow lobster, from our local supermarket, we had very little idea what the job would entail. We were still speeding along on the roller coaster which had lifted us into the air in a very short time. The dizzying heights were clouding our minds with grandiose ideas of writing a book that would become famous because of the enormous amount of press that had already been done about the story. But in our hearts, we cared little for becoming rich or famous. We wanted to make kids happy by reading a book of our amazing journey with Libbie the Lobster.
Because Heather is a former first grade teacher, she had a myriad of supplies to begin our project and a plethora of children’s books from which to define a plan of action. And so we set forth with excited determination to write the true tale of our beautiful yellow lobster, named Libbie.
Heather and I were not new to the writing world. Heather has written poetry and I had begun work on a novel a year prior. However we were new to each other, having only met briefly twice before we joined forces to rescue Libbie. Therefore brainstorming about our book was often interrupted with intermittent getting-to-know-you sessions. We liked each other instantly and became fast friends. If anyone had been listening in on our conversations in those first few days of planning our book, they would have heard much laughter interspersed with quite serious discussions about our lives. Overall there was a sense of having met by design for a greater purpose.
Looking back, I recall that there were moments when we doubted we could actually produce a children’s book we could be proud of but we forged ahead, encouraging each other when doubt crept in. Neither one of us could have imagined the incredible children’s book we were going to produce. And it all began in what now seems a flurry of activity to find our way.
That first day, we had decided to meet early in the morning and keep going until we thought we had made a good beginning. Heather had stacks of children’s books for us to go through for ideas. We soon realized we had many questions: How long should our book be? What age group are we writing for? Do we want words and pictures on every page or pictures on one and words to follow? Should the pictures run across the center of the book or be different on each side? What is the moral of the story? Do we want the words to rhyme? What type of illustrations and colors? And who will we get to illustrate our book, anyway? How much will all this cost????
It was a daunting task but we had the experience of working tirelessly to rescue Libbie and get her to a new home, so we pushed on. At times we were tackling several things at once, seemingly haphazardly but within a few days, we began to see results. Within one week, we had an illustrator and a publisher and our story boards were laid out around a large table to tell our story. We were learning the process of creating and producing a children’s book at lightening speed.
We solicited help from our author friends and began making several difficult decisions, i.e. self publishing vs. indie publishing, cover designer, web design, graphic design, contracts (between Heather and myself too), hard cover vs. soft cover, size of the book, printer, bios, and photographer. We were making important decisions together and we were only two weeks into our project.
All the while, Heather and I were working hard and having fun. We were motivated by the desire to “strike while the iron was hot!” People were talking about Libbie the Lobster everywhere and we were building quite a following. My fondest memory of those first two weeks was of Heather and I standing around the table writing the words to our story. Because I have been far removed from children in my later years, Heather had to remind me that the words I suggested would not be understood by little ones. The wonderful rhymes in our story were entirely Heather’s doing. She later told me that she read Dr. Seuss books before going to sleep. She would awake in the morning with rhymes for our book. I loved the rhymes and laughed heartily when we added them. (I am laughing as I writing this.)
The entire process was not without its difficulties. We did not always agree but our respect for each other deepened and our friendship grew even stronger. Looking back on it now, I can only speak to the incredible joy we both felt when we finally received our book from the printer a mere four months after I first laid eyes on that special, rare yellow lobster in Publix Supermarket. We were both so very proud of the children’s book we had created together. And the best part is that children love our book!!!
Feel free to comment and ask questions. And thanks again for reading.
Children’s book author Susan Day read our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, and wrote the most amazing review. Susan herself writes inspiring and educational books for children on topics that help children learn at a young age to cope with important emotional issues in their lives. Her most recent book, Astro is Down in the Dumps, teaches children tools to use when they are feeling “down.” Here is what this highly prolific author had to say about our book:
Saving Libbie the Lobster by Heather Chalmers & Marybeth Jeitner
Illustrated by Stewart Maxcy
This is an inspiring book for children. Libby the Lobster is due to be sold for someone’s dinner in a supermarket when the forward thinking authors decide to rescue her. Libby is an unusual yellow colour which attracts their attention.
Saving a lobster is not as easy as it sounds! I didn’t know they lived in freezing cold water and that there weren’t any tanks in Florida that could take her. I also learnt what to feed lobsters which might come in handy because, like one of the authors, I am forever bringing home rescue pets. I had to laugh at the response by Heather’s husband – it sounded very familiar to me!
Stewart Maxcy should also be congratulated for bringing this story to life with vivid, fluid and lively drawings. They really add to the fun and humour underlying this tale.
Based on a true story, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to love in Saving Libbie the Lobster. I am encouraged to read that some of the proceeds go to the Seacoast Science Center where she now lives.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I’m sure you and your family will too. It opens up all sorts of educational avenues that you should explore with your children. It might make you think about your next seafood purchase but I implore you to get your claws on a copy today by clicking the link below.
Thank you so much Susan Day! We are so grateful for the review and glad you liked our book!
Check out Susan books on Amazon and her website. Follow her on Facebook too.
You can purchase Saving Libbie the Lobster below!
As always, Thank you for reading!
I’m sitting in bed with my favorite blanket on my lap listening to this silly Native American flute music hoping it will elicit something deep and meaningful for my blog post… maybe some spirit guide will pop in for a visit, I dunno. So far I’ve got nada.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “Being Who You Are”. This isn’t just “Ta da! I’m the cute girl in the spandex pants.” This is the core You on the path you’ve been on since the day you were born (or before!)
Imagine you’re lost in a foreign place and all you want is to go home. You’ve got this yellow brick road in front of you and you have been told (by some adorable munchkins) if you follow it good things will come.
On this road you meet some interesting characters and they decide to join you on…
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My friend Vern Shank is incredibly talented. I’m glad to be called his friend.
February brings some new faces to the Inspired Mic at Leroy’s 19th Hole, the Country Club restaurant and bar for the Cypress Knoll Golf Course in Palm Coast. In the coming two weeks this site will display the presenters who will be on stage on February 17th. With two months under our belt at Leroy’s, we feel we have the recipe for an even better event this month! We are excited about our growth and the community’s interest in local talent. Please check back each day for a little insight into our Inspired Mic Event presenters!
Vern grew up around Philadelphia with an early start in music & film through band, chorus and stage. While in high school, Vern was cast for a small role as an extra in the movie Witness starring Harrison Ford. This unique experience made Vern catch the “bug” to move to Hollywood.
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