Two events in my life coincided so closely together, one would think it was Devine Intervention.
In 2002, I started to slowly lose my eyesight. The loss was so gradual, I really didn’t think too much of my condition, dismissing it as a natural part of the aging process. At the same time, my aging mother-in-law was failing in her health. The more she failed, the more she seemed to talk about things that happened in her past, when she was a very small child. After hearing her stories for years I realized they were funny, tragic, and best of all they were consistent. She and her family lived through some horrible event in history, and she remembered it all.
One day, curiosity got the better of me and I searched the internet for something that may have happened in 1918. I was immediately bombarded with search results for Influenza of 1918, Spanish Flu, influenza, Bird Flu, and Swine Flu. After reading about the Influenza of 1918 and the 30 million or more people who died of this horrible pandemic worldwide, I decided I needed to get her stories down in writing before she failed any more. I made an appointment with her and spent hours writing down her tales.
Shortly after talking to me that day, she took a turn for the worse and we had to move her to a nursing facility. As quickly as I could I took her stories, photos, and my internet research to write my first novel, A Bird Named Enza. My goal was to have a finished book Helen could hold in her hands before she died. I spent day and night for a year writing, re-writing, and writing again.
I finally had a complete manuscript ready for publication. Then the writing wheels ground to a halt. I tried to peddle my book to various publishers, thought about hiring an agent to sell my manuscript, and then realized that time was running out. Helen was fading fast and so was my eyesight. I was bound and determined to get a book into her hands before she left this earth—I was possessed.
I searched out self-publishing and found a publishing internet site I could work with and afford and my Blue Unicorn Publishing was born. It took about 2 months working with the internet publisher and artist for the cover, but I finally had Helen’s story and book in her hands. At that point, she could not see much. I left the book on her bedside table and asked her family as they visit, I would appreciate it if they would read to her. And they did.
As she passed from this world, Helen and I both knew that the “work” I did on her story was not work at all, but a labor of love.
Even though I went on to write two more books, A Bird Named Enza continues to be my number one seller. An English class in Mill City, Oregon, reads my book as part of their curriculum. Twice a year I visit the students to talk about the book and the writing experience. The first question I always ask them is “Was anyone able to read this book and not cry?” So far, no one can say they were able to—not even big football jocks who reluctantly admit they were moved to tears. .
As far as losing my eyesight--I finally went to see my eye doctor. He got me in for an MRI and neurologists found a brain tumor growing on my optical nerve. After successful surgery the doctors were happy to report the tumor was benign. The nurse in ICU said, “Wow, God must have big plans for you.”
After all I had been through I couldn’t imagine what else was left for me to do. I guess I will know some day. Hopefully it has something to do with writing, because I just love to write.
“I cannot dream a pleasant dream until every child goes to bed at night knowing someone loves them.”
Causes Dawn Meier Supports
All children's causes.