Hi, beautiful friends. It’s been a while. I last posted in September and I was on the road almost all of that month, visiting friends and family from coast to coast and attending my high-school reunion and a conference. I also met with my new literary agent, Linda Langton….and that got me writing all of October through last week to revise and double the length of Bazoomerangs to get it ready for a commercial publisher.
Here’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while. Barbara Marx Hubbard, a futurist, visionary, and mentor to millions, died last April. I had the high honor of working with her for a while, as I edited an early version of her seminal Conscious Evolution. I was also working with Marc Allen of New World Library at the time, and I hooked them up, and NWL published the masterpiece.
Barbara was very, very special to me. We spent hours talking about her life and what would go in the book. It was one of those amazingly fun projects to work on—the kind where I’d say at 11 PM, oh, I’ll just work on one more paragraph, and look up at the clock seemingly just a few minutes later and it’d be 2:30 AM.
Barbara had six children and was a stay-at-home mom back in the ‘fifties. As she talked about in an earlier book, one day when her children were pretty much on their own and her hands-on-mom job was coming to an end, she heard a question from deep inside her: “Do you want to die?”
It wasn’t a morbid thought, she told me. It was just her body knowing it was done with regenerating and perhaps its purpose was over. She also suffered from depression. She answered, “No.” Then she started writing letters to the likes of Jonas Salk and Jacob Brezinski and ended up meeting with them and many others. She said, “Anyone can do things like this. This was from a housewife in Connecticut.”
Well, my mother was a housewife in New York State. And after she had five children, she also suffered from depression. She obviously answered yes to that question, and she died in 1979. I honor her path and her choice; she was very depressed and quite ill from bone cancer.
One time I asked a dear family friend and my mother’s BFF, “Was Mom happy?” I knew the answer to this, of course, but I really wanted to hear the perspective of a peer of my mom’s. The friend…oh, how can I explain this. She was saddened by the question and didn’t really want to answer me, but she said, “We’d come of age when intelligent women didn’t have many opportunities, except to stay home and raise a family. For some it was enough, but for us it wasn’t.” Ruth’s marriage ended, and she went on to get a great job. Being a devout Catholic, my mom wouldn’t consider divorce, so she ended her marriage in her own way.
My mom wanted to be a writer, and she wrote a few short stories. I’ve had several people say over the years that I probably am a writer to fulfill my mom’s unlived desire. Ha! Writing is not an easy path and there have been times I’ve tried not to be a writer. But the ideas flow, the characters knock on the door to my brain—and sometimes the shower door or the car window, LOL—and demand to have their story told.
But my mom had or put many things in her way. For me it was so wonderful to be with Barbara: a woman about my mom’s age who hadn’t chosen that path, who hadn’t answered yes to that question, and who went on to live a life of brilliance.
The way I came to work for her was quite remarkable in itself. A friend came to visit once, and he mentioned that he edited a book for Barbara. “Oh, I would LOVE to do that!” I exclaimed, with all my heart.
Well, the universe bent over backwards and traveled sideways for me to do that. Barbara’s foundation posted the job in the want ads, something I never read, of a newspaper I rarely looked at. In fact, when I was first looking at them, a friend called and asked what I was doing. When I told her, she chided me for doing such a thing (that’s a whole other blog…but basically her opinion was that nothing I’d ever want would be in the want ads, and that wasn’t a way to find editing work worthy of me). Well, I was guided to look in them again the next week and there was the post for the job again, although it didn’t say who it was for. Something like 100 people applied for the job, 3 were interviewed, and I got it because I had the ability to make her writing sound like she was speaking from the podium.
And that friend who’d chided me? She ate some humble pie, as she was an editor and a big fan of Barbara’s, too. Blessings can show up in the strangest places…the main thing is that I was guided to look there, and I followed my intuition.
It may be a quaint saying, but love truly never dies. When someone passes away, his or her love stays on. My mom died so long ago, but I still feel her love around me. I also feel it in the form of others, like Barbara, who have come along at various points in my life, picked me up by the scruff of the neck and set me on a higher rung of the ladder, saying, “It’s time for you to be up here now.”
Thank you, Barbara. I’m so grateful for all the gifts you gave me and gave to the whole world.