Making a Difference to Just One

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A while back a friend talked to me about her desire to make a difference in the lives of others by getting her “story” out there. That story consists of almost being murdered by her ex-husband. No one–as in not one–not even the doctors, expected her to survive. But survive she did! She’s truly a miracle. In fact she didn’t only survive, she’s by far one of the most positive, smiling, happy, and grateful people I know. Those who know her are blessed indeed.

During this talk we had, she was somewhat discouraged. She wanted to help so many and felt like she was reaching no one. Writing a book was at the top of her list, but anyone who is an author knows writing a book and getting it out there takes a long time. Because of her generous heart and caring spirit, she wanted to help people now. What she didn’t realize, and what I pointed out to her, is that she was helping people–every single day, and that each one she touches, is so important. She’s a first responder victim’s advocate, offering on-the-scene support to victims of crime. She’s won awards for all that she’s accomplished and does because of what she’s been through, using her experience for good. She speaks to groups of people, letting them know that nothing is too big to be overcome. She motivates, inspires, and brings joy.

Every. Single. Day.

Each of us that had a role in the prosecution of her case has been forever touched by her.

Fast forward nine months:

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I got a message from her the other day that said “Oh my God, you’re Alexandra Benn!” She proceeded to tell me that her therapist lent her two books, one of which was my book that I wrote under a pseudonym, Finding Peace Through Gratitude: The Secret to Healing from Trauma and Finding Joy in Every Moment. She went on to tell me what a difference the book has made in her life and that she didn’t know it was me until she saw my picture on the back. I’d even seen a photo she posted on social media of her chair at the pool with a bottle of water and a copy of the book.

Imagine my joy. I was moved to tears. The advice I’d given her months before came back full circle. And her voicing the difference my book made to her, made a difference to me.

Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows I participate in Camp NaNoWriMo every April and July. This particular July, however, I’ve been preoccupied with life–vacation to Minnesota visiting family, chaos relating to my husband’s job, and surgery last week on my heart. Progress on my Camp NaNo project just wasn’t happening. But knowing my words made such an impact on this woman, one person, was all it took to get me back to it with gusto. Will I make my Camp NaNo goal? I don’t know. But I do know that knowing my words make a difference, that they bring me such joy to write–well, my friends, that’s all that matters. That I made a difference to one. Because that one is a woman who is beyond amazing.

And now I’m back off to Camp to keep on keepin’ on, despite reaching my goal or not. Whatever I write is that much more that I didn’t have at the end of June.

I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.
-Mother Teresa

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
-Mother Teresa

Who’s up for Going to Camp?

Where?

At Camp NaNo. 🙂

Camp Nano 2014

November is National Novel Writing Month but the NaNo team also holds camps in April and July. Though Camp NaNo is somewhat smaller than November’s hoopla, from what I see in numbers, it has grown considerably since its inception.

The difference between the one held in November and April and July’s Camp is the goal for November is to write a 50,000 word novel, while Camp is open and  allows for more leeway. Open, as in anything goes. You set your own word count goal and it can include any kind of writing–fiction or nonfiction, poetry, blogging, memoir…you get the picture. With camp you’re also placed in virtual cabins with other writers; or not if you so choose.

I loved camping as a child, so I’m beyond thrilled to camp where it involves words and writing! Two of my favorite activities! 🙂

Anyone care to join me?

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“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

Writing My Memoir

English: Typewriter "Hermes" Deutsch...

So the idea of writing my memoir has been tumbling around in my mind for a long time now. Having a tendency to cram ten lifetimes into one, I’ve experienced so many things in my life, good as well as some not-so-good (aka: mistakes), that I would like to share in the hopes of helping others get through their trials and tribulations. Even if it’s just one person I am able to reach. And even if it’s simply by letting that one person know that someone out there has experienced what they’re going through, understands them, and has overcome.

Research I’ve done revealed numerous articles which advise that in order for your memoir to be effective and worth reading, one cannot sensor what is written for fear of what people will think. That the writer cannot fear what the reader will think of them or anyone else, and the writer cannot worry about upsetting other people.

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I need to say I struggle with that concept. That being said, maybe I’m reading into those sentiments all wrong. While I don’t worry what the reader will think of me, I don’t believe it is my place, writing memoir or not, to tell someone else’s private story, even if it directly affected my life and how I grew from that connection or grew tired trying to overcome the obstacle from that connection. I would like to believe that there is a difference between writing the truth about an incident, even if someone else is involved, and throwing another under the bus. That it is possible to tell my story even where it involves others, and not hurt them in the process of telling that story.

As I finalize the last details in publishing my book, The Inheritance, and begin outlining my memoir, I think I will insert the word “Pray” at the top of every note card I prepare for each writing session. A reminder to pray and ask for God’s guidance to write the truth, to help those I can with my story, and to keep information with a potential to hurt anyone at all confidential and out of the story. Even if it’s just the name. To always remember that making the story interesting and credible means not hurting another. And that if hurting another is what it takes to make a sale, it’s no different than selling one’s soul. May my soul always belong to God.

All is Grace.