You Are Invited!

Here’s a fun story.

Last summer, when I was playing hide-and-seek with the idea of self-publishing my stories, I woke up one Sunday morning with the inescapable message that I had to go to church that day.

Inescapable is the perfect word because it would not go away no matter how I tried to distract myself. Julia Cameron calls these “marching orders” and that is exactly how it felt. I had no choice in the matter.

So I went to church.

The service was nice, but nothing special. No blinding flashes of insight. No voices from on high with messages of great import. After the service, I joined the rest of the gang in Fellowship Hall for coffee time.  About half way through my cup of tea I looked up from my conversation and saw a young woman standing across the room with her mother.

And then my body was taken over by aliens.

Or maybe, considering the venue, it was taken over by angels.

I excused myself from the conversation, walked across the hall, said hello to Lyndsay and blurted out, “I’m publishing a children’s book and wondered if you would be interested in illustrating it.”

And then I stood there, looking like a gasping guppy laying on the floor on the outside of the fishbowl, I’m sure.

Lyndsay graciously replied that she’d love to have a look at the story. We chatted for a bit and then I zombied home, still not quite sure what had just happened.

I immediately emailed her my story/poem called Down in the Jungle. She replied in very short order, saying she loved it, had already started visualizing how she would bring the story to life on the page, but was concerned about timing. In a couple weeks, she was heading to Calgary for her first year in ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design) and didn’t know how much time she would have available to work on my project.

My project. In a few short hours it had gone from a skittish idea to a solid project!

As it turned out, Lyndsay’s school year was even more rigorous than she had imagined. She had absolutely no time to devote to my book, but her enthusiasm for Down in the Jungle gave me the courage to finally approach Elsie Archer, a local artist whose work I had long admired, about another story called – you guessed it – Leaf.

Elsie turned out to be just as enthusiastic about Leaf and, as you well know, we embarked on this adventure together.

But the story doesn’t end there.

On May 6th, 2011 I delivered all my files to Blitzprint, the company that would be printing Leaf. I basked in that moment for about two seconds and then on the drive home started figuring out my promotional material. I needed bookmarks. Business cards. Notecards of Elsie’s amazing illustrations. Maybe some post cards. I was heading up another steep learning curve because I knew nothing about graphic design.

About four days later I got a call from Lyndsay, saying she was home from school and had a few free weeks before she started her summer job. Would I like to get together to talk about Down In the Jungle?

You bet I did!

And so it was, that before I even had Leaf in my hand, I was starting work on my second book. I was well on my way to my goal of publishing a book a year for five years (Oy! Did I say that out loud?)

But that’s STILL not all.

I was intending to ask Lyndsay if she knew of any graphic designers who might be interested in tackling my promotional material, but I didn’t get a chance. In the course of our conversation she told me that she had her fingers crossed hoping she would be one of the sixty-some students who would be accepted into the graphic design program in ACAD the following year.

Guess who is doing all my promotional material?

And she’s doing an amazing job!

Here’s the Book Launch poster she created:

I love that gold seal! I’m already envisioning it filled with the details of a book award!

And here is your official invitation our Book Launch:

I hope you can make it!

So why am I telling you all this?

A. Because it’s a fun story.

B. Because it’s true that if you take one step toward your dream, your dream will take ten steps toward you.

I cannot explain what happened that July Sunday when I was “told” to go to church, but I listened and look at all the amazing things that came from paying attention to that inner prompting!

About a year ago, my friend, Yvonne, blessed me with this nugget. (That’s Yvonne the yoga teacher extraordinaire who still doesn’t have a website I can link to, but who is on Facebook. Check her out at Didsbury Yoga.) It goes something like this:

Be still. LISTEN! And then have the courage to act on what you hear.

Years ago, Lyndsay and a friend filled a wall with an amazing African savannah painting for our Summer Church Camp. The painting – done on plain brown paper with tempera paints – was astounding. I wanted to take it home with me. Apparently, some part of me did take it home and held it for me all these years until one Sunday morning when I needed it.

Thank you, Lyndsay!

(And thank you, Maxine, for having the courage to ACT on what you heard.)

One last thing . . .

because I know if I was you reading this I would want to get a glimpse of Lyndsay’s sketches for Down in the Jungle.  Here they are:

And another creative project is on its way!

But that’s a whole year away. Leaf‘s Book Launch is only two Saturdays away!

Hope to see you there!

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5 Responses to You Are Invited!

  1. Laura says:

    Hi Maxine! What an amazing journey you’ve had – I’m so excited to hear the whole story! Thanks for the reminder: one step towards your dream yields a harvest ten times larger than itself. I think we’re both living proof of that!

  2. Yvonne says:

    And thank you for having the stillness to listen and the courage to express what you heard. Thank you for blessing us with your beautiful creations. No, no website just yet, but Didsbury Yoga on facebook is a start!

  3. MyHrt says:

    Max, this is fantastic!!! Heh, do you want to send me, if you have it, the poster so I can, if you want, put it on the kristensencrew facebook page so we can oogle over you {grin}…our soon-to-be famous children’s author cousin!

    I am SO uber proud of you!!!

    Ang
    ang.gray.07@gmail.com or
    kristensencrew@gmail.com

  4. maxinespence says:

    Thank you, Laura. And I think you’re right.

    And thank you, too, Yvonne. I keep forgetting about Didsbury Yoga – I’m going to edit the post right now to reflect that!

  5. maxinespence says:

    Thank you, Angela! I will email the poster – thanks for your enthusiasm!

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