After the Launch . . . the Long Exhale

Life has been . . . full.

At times, too full, as evidenced by the piece I wrote after Down in the Jungle’s  launch last May and then forgot to post.

How does a person forget to post a blog? Especially after it’s already been written? The hard part was done!

Well, I did.

And I was not impressed when I sat down to re-commit to my blog and discovered last May’s post waiting in my dashboard. My temperature started to rise, until I thought about everything that was going on last spring:

Arranging, planning and travelling to deliver Author Visits – some of them bundled into week-long forays into bordering provinces and others demanding hours on the phone, calling schools to introduce myself and Leaf and, my new baby, Down in the Jungle.

Organizing kickstarter pledge mail outs – it takes a lot of time to package up and/or hand-deliver 250+ books.

Scrambling to complete a middle-grades novel by contest deadline.

Fulfilling my duties as Mini Field Ref Coordinator for our town’s minor soccer organization.

And, as every mother knows, the day-to-day running of the household. A lot of things can slide (and they did) but everybody’s gotta eat. Meal planning and preparation don’t go away just because Mom is busy with other things.

And then there was my eldest son’s Grade 12 graduation and subsequent flight from the nest. In truth, there wasn’t a lot of preparation to do with the grad itself – Gabriel’s a pretty self-sufficient fellow and he and his Dad took care of renting his tux, etc – but time was spent at the grad events and, before and after, with grandparents who came for the celebrations.

What really swallowed up the time – and thoughts of anything else that might be needing to be done (like pushing the ‘publish’ button on my post about the launch) – was the grief that would overtake me at the oddest moments. It took two forms: a tsunami that would flatten me in the middle of whatever I was doing or a sticky fog that had me treading molasses as I moved through my day.

So . . . I think I can forgive myself for forgetting to post the follow-up to our launch in a timely matter. If it is still of interest to you, put on your Time Travel Cap and imagine that it’s May 16th, 2014 (‘cuz that’s when it was written).


Down in the Jungle has been launched!

And it happened on the Mother’s Day weekend, just as Lyndsay and I had envisioned so many months ago when we embarked on this crazy kickstarter journey.

There was a wonderful turn-out of friends and family and other supporters at our favorite Didsbury establishment, the Public Library. Inez and the rest of the library crew have been so supportive of both of us in our literary and artistic and school-expense-paying endeavors (two summers in a row, they hired Lyndsay for her techie expertise) that we couldn’t imagine doing the launch anywhere else. Inez even convinced the other Mountainview Libraries to make a $250 pledge to our kickstarter project — the one where Lyndsay and I offer a skype visit as a reward — a visit which will now be in person, next Friday, May 23rd, at their Literary Festival. And the Didsbury library staff continued with their amazingness on the day of the launch, transforming the space into a welcoming venue for our celebration.

*Note: the Literary Festival went very well, except for one major blip – I got stuck in a traffic accident on the QEII and missed all but the last 30 seconds of the presentation. Lyndsay did her part part brilliantly and Library Donna saved the day by stepping in and reading the story in my place. Thank you, Donna, for doing such a fabulous job!

Now back to the Launch.

Lyndsay and I shared the story of Down in the Jungle‘s creation.


Lyndsay showed everyone how she paints on her computer.


We gave a few books away.


Young Nathaniel Windsor (just shy of 6 years old) was one of the book winners. He was so sweet when he came up to thank me for his book! Nathaniel and his 4 year old brother, Sebastian, came to the launch with his grandparents, Kathleen and Bill Windsor, avid supporters of the arts.

(In fact, Kathleen is the president of the Mountainview Arts Society, of which yours truly is a member. As is Inez, the librarian and my writer friend, Laura Crowe. The MVAS Treasurer, Merrilee Anthony, was there with her family, as well. We Didsburians (?) Didsburyites (?) LOVE the arts.)

And then we ate cake!


It was a beautiful (and delicious) cake, created by Didsbury’s own Angela Pratt who fit us in to her very busy schedule and then heaped on even more goodness by gifting the cake to us!

Sometimes words fall way short.

‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate, but that is the word available to us.

So . . . thank you to Inez and the Didsbury Library staff for all your support through the years.

Thank you to everyone (including Neil, an early early launch arrival), who helped get Lyndsay’s computer to talk to the television so Lyndsay could actually show her illustrations while I read the story.

Thank you to Angela for gifting us the beautiful, delicious cake.

Thank you to all the friends and family who supported us through our highs and lows.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the launch (including a special thank you to Mr. Three Hills–a self-described kickstarter junkie who didn’t know either of us, but supported our project and then made the drive with his children to take in the launch).

Thank you to the local businesses who are making Down in the Jungle available for purchase: White Raven and Didsbury Pharmasave in Didsbury, Only One Under the Sun in Carstairs, and Pandora’s Boox in Olds.

And thank you to everyone who pledged and/or spread the word about our publishing endeavor. Without you, none of this would have happened.

Next order of business is to get the rest of the kickstarter packages bundled up and mailed out. We scrambled to get all the Mother’s Day pledges fulfilled in time for Mother’s Day and now we’re working on the rest. They’ll be trickling out over the next few weeks. Keep your eyes on your mailbox!

And if, when you open your package, you are overcome by a rush of tingly warmth, know that it’s just the thank you hug we slid into the envelope before we sealed it.

*Note: Mail-out Mission completed by mid-June.

Huge SMAX from Max.


PS. During the launch, I shared the meaning of this symbol, which I use when I sign my books (a kiss, a hug, a smile, and a wink, all wrapped up in a big, cushy cuddle). Merrilee sent me an email a few days later with a photo she took of her grand-daughter’s drawings. Here’s her note:

My Dear Maxine,

I simply had to send you photos of two drawings granddaughter Ena (6) made the day after the Book Launch of Down in the Jungle.
I wanted you to know the impact you had on her when you explained how/why you sign your books the way you do.

Ena's Drawing #1

Ena's Drawing #2
Still warms my heart three months later.
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2 Responses to After the Launch . . . the Long Exhale

  1. Lorien says:

    Hi Maxine! Whew, it does sound like you have been busy. Congrats on launching Down in the Jungle, and surviving all of the other busyness. Forgiving yourself is a good plan. Is there a particular reason that your were feeling grief? Hugs to you!

  2. maxinespence says:

    Hi Lorien! Nice to hear from you. Grief? Oh, yeah. There’s no other word to describe this deep sadness I’m feeling these days. I’m pleased and excited for my son as he heads out into the world, but miss him terribly. He left August 5th for New Zealand. One way ticket. And a such a deep desire to be independent and find his own way that there is minimal contact with him. I am doing my best to honor his desire for complete freedom–I understand it completely–but his absence leaves a gaping hole in our family. Where there were always four around the table or settling in for Sunday Night Movie or heading out on a road trip, now there are three. He’s the whistler in the family. And the piano player. So the house is quieter, too. Yeah. There’s no other word that fits, but grief.

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