The Significance of the White Feather

10441372_256945837823752_6784578036389995828_n-1I’ve had a number of people ask me about the cover for my book, Holding Avery. “It’s beautiful,” they say.  “But why the white feather?”

I’ll be completely honest with you – I had nothing to do with the cover.  That was all done by Alison at MP Publishing. But when she sent a proof over months ago, I immediately fell in love. I’d heard the legend of the white feather before, and it was a perfect fit for my book.

White feathers signify either a guardian angel or a message from a deceased loved one. If you find a white feather, it’s good luck, and you’re supposed to save it. I know some people may think it’s all superstitious hogwash, but since the release of Holding Avery last week my white feather sightings have increased tenfold.  Maybe I’m looking more or maybe I just need new pillows, but I’d prefer to think there’s a little girl up in Heaven who is happy to have her story told.

I Write Books and Stuff

do-authors-write-booksYesterday, as I leisurely perused the garden section of The Home Depot, I overheard a woman in the next aisle.

“Would you like to take a one minute survey on water quality?” she asked another shopper.

I turned and saw a man way too overdressed to be shopping at The Home Depot at 11 a.m. quickly shoo her away.

She moved on to her next target, a lady clad in the suburban North Texas soccer mom uniform of yoga pants, tank top, and bedazzled baseball hat.

“Can I get you to take a one minute survey on water quality?” she asked politely.

“I would if I had an extra minute, which I don’t,” soccer mom lady quipped.

Then it was my turn.

“That Mandevilla is beautiful,” she nodded at my cart.  “Would you like to take a one minute survey on water quality?”

I had a babysitter for the morning in an effort to run errands without temper tantrums, and, while that minute was going to cost me an extra 17 cents, I really didn’t have a good reason to say no.

“Sure,” I answered.

“Would you say the water from your tap tastes good, fair, or poor?”

“Good.”

“Do you drink bottled water?”

“No. We drink it from our fridge.”

“What’s your occupation?”

My occupation. I hate this question.  Ever since I quit teaching and started writing I’ve been unsure of how to answer it. When do you actually become a writer?  When you’re born? In fifth grade when you write your first short story and realize that you’d never in a million years want to do anything else?  In college when you get your first poem published in some second-rate literary magazine?  When you finally sign a publishing contract?  It’s one of those questions without a definitive answer.

Last month I went for a massage, and, for the first time in my life, I actually had the balls to put “Writer” as my occupation.  The masseuse looked at it and got all excited.

            “Wow, you’re a writer? That’s so cool. What do you write?”

            “I write books and stuff.”

             “Do you have anything published?”

            “Yes.”

            “What’s it about?”

In that moment I wished I had written “Housewife” on that damn form.  It’s not that I’m not proud of my book, but I didn’t exactly want to explain my tragic life story of stillbirth and depression to this stranger that was going to be kneading my naked body for the next hour.

             “It’s kind of a sad story about a girl that dies.”

            “So it’s fiction?  What’s the title?”

I avoided telling her it was actually non-fiction and gave her the title. Unfortunately, this little omission on my part caused me to spend the duration of a spectacular massage wondering how confused this woman was going to be if she actually bought my book.

And here I was again, a few weeks later, facing the moment of truth with this lovely lady deeply concerned about the quality of my water.

“I’m a writer,” I finally said.

“What do you write?”

“I write books and stuff.”

“That’s so cool.  Do you have any books out now?”

“Actually, I do.  My first book comes out next week.”

“What’s it about?”

I paused, thinking of the easiest way to explain it.  “Well, my husband and I lost our first child, and it’s basically about how we dealt with that.”

“Really? I lost my first child, too.  That sounds like something that would really hit home for me. What’s it called?”

She wrote down Holding Avery and promised to go buy a copy.  I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to my shopping.

I don’t know if that woman will buy my book, but I do know one thing.  I think I’m finally a writer.  After all, I write books and stuff.