Sue has a new book, Up Beaver Creek

Up_Beaver_Creek_Cover_for_Kindle (1)People often say that for those of us without children, the things we create are our babies. For me, that would be my books. I have been making books in some form since I was an odd child wrapping my stories in cardboard covers and illustrating them with crayons. I keep promising myself that I will not produce another one without a six-figure contract and a big-name publisher, but oops, I have given birth to a new book, my eighth.

The idea just flitted by that I could do this like a baby announcement. You know: time, date, height, weight, a little picture with a pink or blue cap. Have you received as many of those as I have? Have they made you cry? So no, not doing that. Enough with the birth analogy. Although a friend and I had some fun the other day joking about how much it would hurt to actually give birth to a book, considering the sharp corners.

I hereby announce the publication of Up Beaver Creek, a rare novel in which the main characters do not have children and are not going to get pregnant in the end. In this story, P.D. Soares, widowed at 42, has gone west from Montana to make a new life on the Oregon coast, but things keep going wrong. The cabin where she’s staying has major problems, and the landlord has disappeared. She’s about to lose the house she left in Missoula, and her first gig in her new career as a musician is a disaster. What will happen next? Here’s a hint. The earth seems to be shaking.

Up Beaver Creek comes from my own Blue Hydrangea Productions. You can buy copies or read a sample via Amazon.com by clicking here. Click here for information on all of my books, a crazy blend of fiction and non-fiction, including Childless by Marriage.

A few of you served as Beta readers to help me with the final draft. You were a huge help. As soon as my big box of books arrives, I will send you your free copies. You’ll find your names in the acknowledgements.

Could I produce all these books if I didn’t have children? I believe I could. I might be fooling myself, but I’m always trying to live more than one life at a time. I succeed most of the time.

So, are our creations our substitute babies? Could they fill that hole in our hearts, the hole P.D. is trying to fill with music? Would it ever be enough? It isn’t enough for me, but it sure helps because my work connects me with wonderful people like you. I welcome your comments.

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A picnic basket for the childless

Dear friends,
Occasionally I need to gather up the miscellany and  put it all into a picnic basket for you to savor. Here goes:

“Creating a new life for yourself as a childless woman” at Gateway-women.com offers comfort and ideas for digging ourselves out of the pity trench and moving on.

Then there’s “What if you don’t want children, but your husband or partner does?” at the Children or Not blog. It’s a twist on the question at the heart of this blog and my book. What if you’re the one who doesn’t want kids?

Yesterday, a friend told me she has found the daughter she gave up for adoption more than 40 years ago. Now she’s a grown woman with a daughter of her own. She said she hesitated to tell me because she knew I was sensitive on the subject. I knew I should be happy for her, and I am, but mostly I wanted to wail right there in the mall. Why couldn’t it be me showing off a photo of my daughter and granddaughter? Know what I mean?

If you happen to be in or near Lincoln County, Oregon, I’m leading a discussion on childlessness this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the South Beach Community Center. It’s free, including refreshments. I’ll tell my story, share a little from my book, then invite everyone to talk about it. If you live a little farther away, would you be interested in having me come lead a similar discussion in your town? Let me know at sufalick@gmail.com.

Have a great weekend.

Update on the Childless by Marriage book

So whatever happened to my Childless by Marriage book, the one I keep promising is on its way? Well, the book is written. I was actively seeking publishers when my husband’s illness got much worse. He died in April, and I’ve been trying to swim back to solid ground ever since. But now I’m back in business, marketing as hard as I can.

I have found that most books on childlessness wind up being self-published. Although nearly a quarter of all women today never have children, publishers don’t see a big enough market. I think all those childless women and men, as well as their families and friends, make up a huge market.

Never mind. I’d prefer the clout of a bigger publisher, but I have my own small publishing company, Blue Hydrangea Productions, which has already put out Stories Grandma Never Told and Shoes Full of Sand. See http://www.suelick.com/Products.html. If no one buys the book before March 2012, I will publish Childless by Marriage as my 60th birthday present to myself. Count on it. (And yes, I am that old.)

Meanwhile, we have this site to share our stories. I have a childless resource page with descriptions of dozens of books and websites at my main website, http://www.suelick.com/Childless.html. I previously sponsored a Childless by Marriage Google group, but there wasn’t enough action there to be worth the effort, and it was getting confusing as to what went where. If you’re interested in a Facebook page, let me know.

While the Childless by Marriage book makes its way through the publishing world, I’m also working on articles and essays and will let you know where you can read them.

My Blogspot statistics tell me quite a few people are reading this blog. Some of you are quoting it elsewhere. Thank you. I’m flattered. Feel free to share what you find here, but please, because it is copyrighted material, let people know where you found it and link back to this site.

Thank you for your years of reading and commenting and offering support. Being childless in this society can be tough sometimes. It helps to stick together.

Sue

How can we use our mothering energy?

In a comment on a previous post, Elena said she wished she knew how to use her “mothering energy.” I wanted to flip out an easy answer about getting involved with kids at her church, a local school, or some kind of social program. But then I realized I would not feel comfortable doing any of these things. I have minimal experience being around children. I am utterly unprepared to teach or take care of them. I could learn, but the idea makes me nervous. I know, they’re just kids and I was one once, but I feel less qualified to work with children than I feel about the accounting job someone just suggested I apply for. At least I have been balancing checkbooks (sort of) for decades.

Mothers and others might find it difficult to believe that a woman could go through life spending almost no time with children, but it happens. It happened to me, and maybe it happened to you.

These days I lead singing with the children at our church on Wednesday nights. It’s fun, but another woman does all the talking and interacting with the kids. I just sing and play my guitar.

Some childless people have lots of kids around them. Maybe they come from big families where they took care of their siblings or they have nieces and nephews they adore. Some are teachers or work with kids in daycare or medicine or some other field. They’re using their mothering energy all the time. We could volunteer at church, school, or the children’s shelter to be around children, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that, I understand.

Let’s look at it another way. What is mothering? Beyond actually giving birth, it’s taking care of someone else. God knows we all need that, no matter how old we are. We can provide food for the poor, company for the lonely, help for anyone who needs it. And it doesn’t have to be human. We can take care of dogs. We can grow flowers or tomatoes.

And we can make things, using our creativity in so many ways, whether we write books, bake bread, make sculptures or program computers.

I know it’s not the same as having children, but moping about what we don’t have doesn’t help for long. Grieve for a while, admit that it sucks, then find some other way to use your motherly powers.

What are your thoughts on mothering energy?