My Greatest Ambition- ‘The Most Important Lesson’ …Can You Help?

It is now October 2015.

Seven years ago this month my big sister, Sarah, lost her life and left behind two beautiful children. Losing her changed everything.

Personally, I struggled with this very much (“very much” being an understatement). There were so many aspects of the experience that were extremely hard to handle and totally threw me for six. Since then I have wanted to help support, protect, and comfort the kids my sister left behind, but I have been in no position to do so. As I type this I am living seven thousand miles away from them with no imminent hope of affording even a visit back home.

The Ambition:

In 2013 I started and finished writing a story. It all came in a wave of inspiration. I sobbed while I wrote it, I sob when I talk about it, I sob when I think about it. My greatest ambition is for this story to be illustrated, published, and both available for sale and distributed for free.

Let me explain:

When my sister was in the accident, she died at the scene but was resuscitated and on life support for ten days. Her children were taken to a separate hospital and were treated for minor injuries. They were two-and-a-half years old, and two months old, respectively. They were then cared for by friends for a few days until my sister’s partner was able to leave my sister’s side and take them home. Once this happened, all the children really knew was that their mother wasn’t there anymore.

At the hospital when we were all going through this ordeal, they didn’t give us any materials to help explain anything to the kids. I don’t even know if there is a program in existence that does this. So when I wrote the story, I had this in mind. How do you explain to young kids what has happened to their parent? Transcending the parent/child relationship, how do you explain loss to children?

Without wanting to delve into any religious or afterlife type of detail, the story that came into my head was one of conveying the understanding that our loved ones never really leave us if we keep their memories, words, and lessons alive.

The Story:

In the story, the main character is named after my niece, Ezri. Ezri bunny is a curious little bunny who loves to explore and ask questions. She gets a baby brother, Lucian (named after my nephew) and is so excited, but her excitement turns to disappointment when she realises he’s too young to play ‘pretend’ with her. She then decides to show him her favourite things.

As Ezri shows her baby brother her favourite things, she is keen to tell him all about them: The flowers, the lake, and the beautiful sunset. But she soon realises she doesn’t have all the knowledge to explain them the way she wants to. With Mama Bunny by her side, she asks questions about them and her mama gives her explanations she doesn’t fully understand…

Ezri was still curious. “But Mama, why does it make the sky so pretty before it goes away?”

Mama Bunny thought again about what to say. Then she spoke tenderly, “Ezri, my little love bug, it is teaching us a lesson. As the sun sets, it gives us a beautiful show that will never be repeated. But it won’t wait for us to come and see it, it will carry on as it does. We have to choose to see it if we really want to enjoy it, because if we don’t pay attention, we’ll miss it. But if we do pay attention, I mean really pay attention and take in all it has to show us, we will have a wonderful memory of that amazing display of light, to carry us through even the darkest of nights. The sunset will fade away, but our memory of it, the imprint it leaves in our hearts, is what will keep it alive in us. And that memory can never be taken away for as long as we live.”

…until the day Mama Bunny is suddenly not there anymore.

Ezri is confused, and goes to find her mama.

     Ezri went outside. “Maybe,” she thought, “I can find her.” She went to the meadow to see if Mama Bunny had got lost there picking flowers. She could see some of the flowers losing their petals as the wind blew. She found a fluffy white one she was sure had been yellow before. As she touched it, some of the white fluff sailed away in the breeze. It was so beautiful to watch, she blew on it and sent the rest of the fluff dancing on her breath. As she looked around, she noticed all the yellow flowers had turned white and fluffy. She ran and jumped through the meadow and watched all the bits of fluff dance around her. She stopped for a moment. “Mama?” she called.

But Mama Bunny wasn’t there.

Ezri thought about what her mama had told her about the flowers. The flowers were now going away, but she guessed the white fluff was on its way to making new flowers. “Goodbye,” she said to them, “see you again soon!”

As she visits each of her favourite places, looking for Mama Bunny, she gains a better understanding of her mama’s words. Beginnings and endings, peace and reflection, culminating in the ultimate understanding of her mama’s “Most Important Lesson.”

What I need:

Editing: I need help to make this a reality. I have all the words typed and edited to the best of my ability, but I need it to go to the next step.

Illustrations: I am artistic, but I am not an illustrator. I would like help in this area. Someone who knows how to illustrate and can understand my vision for this and where I want it to go.

My poor attempt:

wpid-20151003_133150.jpg

Publishing: I need a publisher to hear me and want to work with me.

Promotion: This project is designed to be available for sale for anyone who wants it. I also see it being included in a package distributed at hospitals and hospices (et cetera) and by Social Services as an illustrated story to read to the kids affected.

Others: I can see quotes from this and the corresponding artwork sold as merchandise of all sorts, with portions of the proceeds going to either a new or existing charity that focuses on comfort for children who have lost parents.

I can see a short cartoon made from this story available to view for free on YouTube.

I want to tour and read this story wherever it’s welcomed.

I don’t have anything in the way of money or resources to give. I am just me, not rich in the slightest.

Ideally part of completing this project would allow me to visit my home (America) for the first time in over five years, to see my niece and nephew and give them an illustrated, printed first copy of the book, and read it to them in person.

Feedback So Far:

Everyone who has read the story so far has loved it and has passionately told me I need to publish it. This, I feel, is my greatest purpose thus far. My gift to the world.

What’s Been Stopping Me:

Fear. Of applications, rejection, failure, you name it. I have had extreme artistic block when trying to do the illustrations myself, and have been unable to complete them.

I don’t know how publishing works. I am not an expert. I don’t feel I know how to do this alone.

Can you help?

Email me @: talkingthisandthatblog.gmail.com

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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Please share this everywhere. Somehow, some way, the right person will see it and get in touch with me.


Copyright notice: All quotes and ideas expressed here are the sole intellectual property of Kirsten Young. Copying of any portion of the above without permission is strictly prohibited.

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7 thoughts on “My Greatest Ambition- ‘The Most Important Lesson’ …Can You Help?

  1. You are on to something wonderful here. I am sorry I have no resources to give you. I am not a published author or publisher or anything. From what I gather though, it is not necessary for you to do or worry about the illustrations. The publisher would choose an illustrator. First complete your story. Then you need an agent. Good Luck with this. You have a lot of very good marketing ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you thought about crowdfunding, to raise funds to pay for an editor/illustrator? You could self-publish via Amazon. Have you looked into charities who work with children who experience bereavement to see if they’d be interested in funding your project? I’d query the ‘for sale and distributed for free’? People will be less likely to pay for a product, if you’re distributing it for free elsewhere (though I understand you said that’s at hospitals/hospices/social services etc). I wish you all the best with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought about all these things, I’m thinking of doing something like that but don’t know exactly what to ask for. I don’t know how much it would cost to get this done.
      Yes the distribution for free is for the families in the hospital/hospices and bereaved children perhaps placed in foster care following the loss of their parents. I don’t know if or how that can be accomplished but that’s how it happens in my head.
      To self publish, what I really need is a mentor of some sort to help walk me through that. Applications and things of that nature are not my strong point.
      Thanks for your suggestions.

      Like

  3. Hi, I was directed to this by The Oak Tree Photographic Studio in Lancashire; they know I’m full of opinions so figured I should stick my oar in. My feelings regarding publishing through what we would call a ‘regular’ publishing house are that it’s extremely hit-and-miss, with a hell of a lot of miss. You’ve probably looked into it a fair bit already. If you submit an unsolicited manuscript, it goes into a pile with all the other unsolicited manuscripts (the dreaded ‘slush pile’), and may or may not get picked up by some unpaid intern, and even if it is picked up, it’s still got to fight its way to fore of everything else they received, including the manuscripts sent by approved literary agents.

    That’s a very doom-and-gloom view, but you don’t need to go that route. I wrote a totally disposable book called ‘Dear Annick’ and released it through a print-on-demand service called Lulu. The book was not much more than a collection of email correspondence between me (under a couple of pseudonyms) and a West African internet scammer trying to rip me off. In the end there was quite a lot of material, so I decided to edit it together and put it out there.

    Print-on-demand services simply hold your print-ready file until you, or someone else, purchases the book, and Lulu also provide a market place online through which people can buy your book. They then print as many copies as necessary to fill the order – as low as one. The benefits are that you don’t have to order an enormous minimum run – you don’t have to order any! I sold twenty copies, so Lulu only ever printed twenty copies. They have their print cost, and you set your profit margin (from which they deduct a small commission). You even get assigned an ISBN no. and a barcode. Under this arrangement, they are the print-house and you are the publisher.

    Hope that helps. If you need any more info, get me on FB or microraptor-at-hotmail.com.

    Best,

    Gareth

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I sent Sherry (from Simply Celebrate) you contact info here, so she can read more about you & your project. She wrote a little piece about “lowering the bar” that you might find interesting & maybe helpful as a first step. Wondering if you have thought about beginning with a very special book for Ezri & Lucian that would be a keepsake book custom made just for them. Perhaps it might even come with a pretty packet of flower seeds for kids to plant in a memorial garden, planting new life & nurturing its growth.

    Then the next step could be a published children’s story for the hospitals, hospice etc. I think Sherry is just the one to help you formulate the magic around this. Shall we see? My gift to you. . .

    Like

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