Hi! Is anyone out there?
This feels like getting on a stage where the lights are shining so brightly in your face that you can’t see the audience. I’ve been told you’re out there. But it’s so still and quiet around here that it’s hard to know for sure. Can you tell it’s my first time doing this? I wonder what I could say or do to create a stirring. Maybe if I make a plea like Peter Pan sends out when Tinkerbell falls sick: if you hear this and care, please clap, please blog. Let me know you’re out there. I’m Marika’s mom. Marika Joy Warden’s mother. That should wake someone up somewhere. She was the girl in Ithaca who kicked leukemia but died of complications. In March, 2011. Remember? Well, I’m writing a book. Our book. Please help. I wasn’t supposed to become a writer. Marika was the writer – I was the artist, the teacher and the mother, the one who could be counted on to put out good food and drive anyone anywhere. But after Marika died, I discovered her journals and notebooks. She spent hours and hours writing songs, poems, plays, prose. The first poem I found was a single entry on the first page of a brand new journal. She beckoned me, no dared me, to carry on. She wrote that she wanted to be remembered for her words. So I’m here writing a book. Using her songs, poems and prose as her part of our conversations about tough issues like dying, like how cancer affected her life and relationships, … the book tells the real story about our last three years in and out of hospitals and all the way to Australia. It’s like a duet, her words and my words taking turns on the pages.
I’ve been told I need to blog, finally fix up my neglected Facebook pages, brand myself! And get out there in order to establish a platform. Publishers won’t even look at our book without a platform. So I’m inviting you all to help me build a platform. I’m begging you to help me with this platform thing because frankly, this is the scariest part about becoming a writer. Marika loved being on center stage. But I’m more shy. And putting myself Out There, telling our story, using the computer beyond emailing, and exposing myself to strangers – my Aunt Bope always says, “Don’t be a stranger!” – has been a little unnerving. So don’t be a stranger, please jam with me.
One more drink away ‘til the night begins.
Let the smoke lead the way to another night of sin.
All the laughs and cries, something else came in.
Put your soul on overdrive
Because this party’s startin.’
Look around at all these people lookin’ for some fun,
Got my Rastas, got my hipsters, got a few of everyone.
When the music stops the after-party’s just begun.
Get your nightlights on and ready
Ain’t expectin’ any sun.
Wait – time out – the drink and smoke and “night of sin” stuff – twenty year old Marika’s words, not mine. We had different views about things. But that’s what makes this book so unusual. She’s written some amazing things that I will share with you in these blogs each week. This particular short song of hers just seemed to summon up her audience, which is what I need to do now. I know you’re out there somewhere rooting for me in this new project I’m undertaking. So let’s get on with the show, writing words that bring comfort as they are released and again as they are received. We can all move past our grief and loss. In a million ways we can make it all mean something and find joy again.
This is your wake up call. With Hurricane Marika gusting me through ten chapters, a journey to Australia, Ithaca’s gorges, everyday ups and downs and more, I will be writing every Monday, starting in June, 2012 from wherever I am, however I am.