When Carol Graham was first considering a career in writing, she drew inspiration from an unlikely source – her adorably named dog, Louis Vuitton! Read more from Carol on her blog.
Did you ever experience that ‘knowing’ deep within feeling? It never leaves you. It surfaces often to jab you with “You know what you need to do.”
But for any number of reasons, we often suppress it. For me, it was not only the feeling, but my dream to write a book. As a young girl, I loved telling stories and took the liberty to dramatize them for my captive audiences. As a teen, I started writing poetry as a means of escape from the pain in my life – my mom was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.
Although I never pursued writing as a career, I envied those who did. I especially loved memoirs and true life drama. I soaked up these stories like a sponge. There was that feeling again – knowing that I had a book in me. Knowing that I had many experiences to share that would be an interesting read.
As the years passed, the message people were consistently giving me was “Girl, you have GOT to write a book! No one would believe what you went through – people need to hear your story.” But where would I start and who would want to read it?
Amazing What a Little Dog Can Teach You
When my daughter turned sixteen, she went on a trip for fourteen days and asked us to take care of her new puppy, a miniature Dachshund. This little guy’s name was Louis Vuitton and he was one smart fellow.
My husband and I were sitting in the living room when we heard an awful commotion upstairs followed by the thump thumping of something heavy being dragged down the stairs. I peeked around the corner and saw this little six-month-old puppy with short legs laboriously dragging his large, hard-sided Louis Vuitton carrier down fourteen stairs.
He glanced at us, wagged his tail and scurried back up the stairs. “What do you think he is doing?” My husband didn’t have a clue either. We sat in amazement as one by one he dragged his worldly possessions down those stairs. First his blankie, then his bowl, his bone, ball and his sweater. Wait! There’s something else! One last trip – his leash.
What happened next caused us to sit on the sofa with our mouths hanging open. He took each item and placed them into the carrier. This was not easy as the carrier was considerably taller than he was – please remember he is a miniature Dachshund with very short legs.
After he finished packing his “suitcase,” he attempted to jump inside. It took several tries but he made it. Oh my goodness he wasn’t done yet. Once inside, he got the zipper between his teeth and with all the strength he could muster, he pulled the zipper closed, laid down and went to sleep.
The message was abundantly clear. He wanted to go see his mommy. He had seen her pack her suitcase and go away. He must do the same so he could find her. He stayed there all night and when I unzipped the carrier in the morning, he was elated believing he had arrived – but mommy was not there. He was still at Gramma’s. After lots of cuddles, I had a great idea to start making notes of his escapades.
After two weeks, I had completed Louie’s journal written from HIS perspective and it was hilarious. For Christmas that year, I turned this journal into a hardbound book. When my daughter saw her gift she laughed and cried at the same time. I will never forget the staccato words she spoke, “Mom, NOW will….. you…… write…… your…… story?” She began a campaign and no matter what excuse I gave her for not writing it, she squelched it until I finally said “Yes!” just to shut her up!
Stepped Out of my Comfort Zone
It was inevitable. I had to do it. No excuses. No delays. It took almost ten years to complete. Thus began my therapeutic journey to visit places I never wanted to go to again. I had to dredge up past memories that were buried for decades.
The struggles I had endured through my life not only gave me incredible strength and insight, they have opened so many doors to encourage people who had lost hope. Many realized that my message of being a victor instead of a victim could work for them as well. If I made it through, there was hope for them too.
Finally, last year, I published my memoir and my life has taken a completely new course. Before that time, I knew nothing about social media – any platform, any dimension. I am now a full-time blogger and promoting my book in a variety of venues; from radio interviews to speaking engagements.
An Even Bigger Step Out
I am about to launch my radio show Never Ever Give Up Hope. On the show I interview people who have gone through a severe crisis and became successful against all odds. This is a result of taking that first step to write my memoir.
I am grateful and proud of my daughter who designed the cover and chose the name for my memoir, Battered Hope.
She chose this name after years of observing me maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude when beaten, bruised, abused, battered and broken by the traumas life slapped on me. But, I never gave up and never ever gave up hope.
I am so thankful to my beautiful daughter for pushing, encouraging, challenging and sometimes shoving me into my office to put pen to paper – to complete what I had started.
But the biggest thank-you goes to little Louie Vuitton, who is a little old man now – just as cute, just as smart and one who stays very close to his Mommy.