Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yesterday's Words: The surprise poetry book in memory of a lost parent

‘This book is all wrong.’ That’s the thought I had when going over a poetry book I planned to self-publish this year. It was all wrong. Something about the book was just “off.” It didn’t have the right poems. It didn’t stick to one theme.

My plan had been to publish a general poetry book, one without a theme. But then I realized that some of the poems in that book did indeed have one theme, and they outnumbered the ones that didn’t.

So instead of having two poetry books this year, I ended up with three, because I removed the theme poems and put them into a new poetry book which I will be self-publishing in August.

The book I was left with needed a new title. After some thought and some discussion with my cover designer, I decided on a new title and a new cover design. This was totally different than what I had originally envisioned for this poetry book, but fortunately, it worked. It all came together really well in the end.

The result was my new poetry book, Yesterday’s Words. I self-published this book earlier this year. I was fortunate to get it out in time for my father’s birthday, which was April 12th.

And getting it out on the same day as his birthday was actually important to me.

It was 3 weeks ago this month that my father passed away. He died on Easter Sunday, just one week short of his 68th birthday.

Before my father’s death, I was struggling with who to dedicate this new poetry book to. I actually considered quite a few people.

Then my father passed away. And I decided it would be dedicated to his memory. What’s interesting is that the last poem in this book, “If I Could Be You,” would have fitted his last days perfectly. My father struggled with depression during his last days and the poem addresses that issue. This is the same poem I read at his funeral. I felt it was only right to dedicate the book to his memory and that the book come out on his birthday.

And in some way, it seems appropriate. The first poetry book I self-pub this year is dedicated to my father’s memory and the last one is dedicated to my mother’s memory.

I am glad I was able to put this poetry book together. A lot of the poems are just about life. Snapshots of how life is like. The good things, the bad things. I once saw an angel so my poem about that is in the book. I once saw a red heart on a moon inside of a cloud and my poem about such a thing is in the book. But I also talk about friendship, how we communicate with each other and the struggles we go through. The things about life that can only be “life.”

Yesterday’s Words may have been a surprise poetry book for me but it is also one that will have a special place among my other poetry books.


Yesterday's words are like butterflies on the wind. The moments we capture with words kept within our hearts. The good moments, the bad moments, the sad moments and the moments that touch the soul. The little things that we see, hear and experience that make us think, Yes, life is like that. These snapshots from life have been captured into verse.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

The two kinds of "giving up"

It has come to my attention that a blog post I wrote on my Palms to Pines blog may have kindled the idea for struggling writers that since I did not achieve the level of success I wanted to achieve after 10 years of being a writer trying to become a novelist, I might as well throw in the towel and never write again. I don't normally share the PTP blog posts with the world at large UNLESS I need some parenting advice or feedback from fellow deaf parents. I do, however, faithfully share ALL of my blog posts on my Facebook page. (Well, when I remember to, anyway!) So maybe that's how this whole thing started. Or maybe not.

Either way, I feel that perhaps I should clarify on just what I meant by that post...

Yes, I AM disappointed I never achieved the kind of success I wanted as a novelist, but, you know what? That’s okay. Life is full of disappointments. Believe me, I know that ALL too well. Things don’t go the way we want them to. Dreams are shattered. People get the wrong impressions or ideas and act like jerks or big meanies and make it harder for you to accomplish a goal, or even impossible, because they hold all the cards and can say yes or no.

But that’s life. That’s just the way it is.

So, I have accepted that things did not turn out the way I had hoped they would. Disappointed? Yes. Hurt? Of course. But that’s life! I can’t let it ruin everything else for me.

But because my first novel did not do well, despite everything I did, I pretty much gave up on ever trying to be a successful novelist. I mean, that had been my dream from Day One. That is what I had set out to do. That was WHY I got into trying to get a novel published in the first place. I wanted to succeed as a novelist. I wanted my book to be selling like crazy, getting awesome reviews everywhere, selling in major bookstores, being a popular title a lot of people have heard of, being made into a movie, etc., etc.

I wanted to see my novel do well.

But that didn’t happen. It did not become a reality for me.

And because of that, THAT is what I gave up on. That Goal. That desire to be the kinda novelist who has given the world a story it WANTS.

I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I tried to get an agent. I actually had two agents and both of them let me down. I tried to get my name EVERYWHERE. I worked very hard on making my novel the best it could be. I networked with people, got work in the publishing industry, blogged, did a blog tour, put together a promo package that I sent out everywhere, connected with people through social media, told family and friends about the book and tried to get it listed on various websites. (My local paper, The Register-Guard, never runs anything about any of my books so this was one venue I could not use in promoting my novel.) You know? I actually put in the time and energy to get that book to SELL.

But it did not sell a single copy. Not one. (A copy of the book did later sell, but that was after the first quarter – the make-or-break period for books.)

And I was sooo disappointed. I was soooo upset. I was ready to just give up on that dream altogether. Just walk away.

And I very nearly did.

I recently had a dream about how I wrote a novel that DID accomplish all those goals I had. It was a really nice dream. And it gave me hope. It made me realize I should not have put all of my faith into my first novel. Maybe it’ll be the second novel that does well. Or the third one. Or maybe even the tenth.

The point is that I realized that it’s okay to keep writing novels and getting them published. Maybe one of them will finally bring in the kind of recognition that I hope for.

I may have given up on wanting to get more novels published, but there is one thing I could NEVER EVER give up on: My desire to write.

If there is one thing I know of for certain, it is my passion to write. My love of writing. I love to write and I will always write. Even if nothing sells, I’ll write anyway! It may not get published, but it will get written.

I could never give up on being a writer. I could never stop writing. That is one passion that will never, ever come to an end.

So when I said I gave up, I meant I gave up on my dream of being a successful novelist. But I’ll never give up on being a writer. I will never quit being a writer. I will always be a writer.

And I’m happy to report that the dream I had made me change my mind. I’m doing an about-face on that whole “I don’t want any publicity” attitude I adopted for a while there. I WANT my novel to do well. Any novel. So I’ll go back to doing all that promo stuff for my next novel and, yes, submitting MORE novels for publication. I just have to believe that one of them will do well. One of them just might make that dream come true.

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