Trip to Florida, Part I: An Inner Pull

(This is a 4-part series. Click here to read Part II.)

Just settling down after a whirlwind of activity … so much going on in November, much of it swirling around the eye of the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing. I suppose it should be no surprise that my poetry collection, The Beach Poems, was released in November, since it was a group of poems that came to me slowly after my mother’s death. The beach itself returned to me, a place I had almost forgotten; it surged back into my life carrying with it memories of my mother and deep pools of reflection.

The beach surged back into my life, bringing with it memories of my mother.

Strangely, I also felt an inner pull to go to Florida, my father’s home state and the land where I was born and lived the first nine years of my life. Back in August, I was invited by Jean Lee, one of the founders of AlzAuthors to attend a retreat at her family’s condo in Naples. My first instinct was to decline. I was a mom after all. How could I leave my family as the holidays were approaching and my daughter’s basketball season was revving up? Florida was so far, and it was an expensive trip. And would I really want to spend several days with women I’d only met online?

Even in the beginning, as I was closing the door on this opportunity, something within me whispered, “Leave it cracked.” The 10th anniversary of my mother’s death would be during the same week that the AlzAuthors would be gathering. The timing seemed amazing. I couldn’t help but dream of how this trip might be a way to honor my mother.

Summer gave way to autumn on the farm, and I was still thinking of Florida.

As summer transformed into autumn, I learned that Motherhood: Lost and Found would receive a bronze medal in the Readers’ Favorite Awards during the Miami Book Fair. Not only that, but both my dear friend, Gilda Morina Syverson, and my publisher, Laura Ponticello, would be honored for their books in Miami as well. Gilda is the author of My Father’s Daughter: From Rome to Sicily and Laura is the author of Live the Life of Your Dreams: 33 Tips for Inspired Living.

I checked the calendar and was amazed to learn that my invitation to Naples and the awards event were in the same week. Still, life at home was full. To slip away to Florida for several days seemed far fetched. I liked the idea of meeting Jean Lee and Vicki Tapia (another founder of AlzAuthors) in Naples. We had all cared for parents with Alzheimer’s and our shared history had created a bond. But being an introvert, I had no interest in attending a big event like the Miami Book Fair by myself, and I had no idea if Gilda and Laura wanted to go. And even if they did, working out the details of getting from Naples to Miami seemed complicated and overwhelming.

Then I learned that Gilda’s husband Stu was planning to meet friends in Naples in November, and it just so happened to be at the same time I could be with the AlzAuthors. Jean invited Gilda to stay at her condo for the night, and we could easily drive across the state to Miami and get there in plenty of time for the first of a few author events.

Gilda and I talked. Both of us were intrigued with the idea of going to Florida. But neither of us wanted to go alone. With Stu going to Naples, it almost seemed predestined.

Add to that the fact that Laura, our publisher, would be there. We have both felt so blessed to work with Divine Phoenix and Pegasus Books. Laura has been incredibly supportive of not just our memoirs, but the purpose behind our books (mine has been reaching out to those who are living with Alzheimer’s and Gilda’s has been sharing the importance of a written legacy). Laura’s expansive vision is what brought us to this place of success. To celebrate this special event with her would be the icing on the cake.

Gilda and I having fun and toasting our memoirs.

I’ll always remember Gilda saying that if we were to ever have this opportunity again, we’d both have to write another book, and we’d both have to win awards in the same year. And what were the chances that Laura would be going to Florida again at the same time? We burst out laughing. Since Motherhood: Lost and Found took 20 years to write and Gilda’s memoir, My Father’s Daughter: From Rome to Sicily, took nine years to write, we knew we’d better grab this chance now!

Coming soon….Part II: An Amazing Author Connection

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5 Comments on “Trip to Florida, Part I: An Inner Pull”

  1. gildasyverson says:

    Oh my goodness, Ann, I love this picture of us. Great piece of writing. You have it down pat. I’m looking forward to Part II!

    Like

  2. […] is a four-part series. Click here to read Part […]

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  3. […] is a four-part series. Click here to read Part […]

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