Kendra Bonnett–Getting Read #26
We’re on day five of a seven day storm here in Maine, and I feel as though it’s time to break out the dingy. That’ll do. No Ark necessary. I only have three cats, so I won’t be marching the animals in two by two.
It’s been raining since Thursday, and I have only two things to say:
First, thank goodness it’s only rain. If this had been snow, we’d all be climbing out of second-story windows. I still can’t imagine that much snow, but it’s a story I grew up hearing. My grandmother spoke about South Dakota winters in the early 1900s so brutal that not only did they exit through upstairs windows but four babies who would have been my aunts and uncles all died. In winter, my grandparents actually tried to keep each of the newborns warm in the oven–a sort of pioneer incubator. Wow.
Well since I’ve lived here in Downeast Maine, I’ve again heard the stories about house-bound winter folks used to climb out the second-story window. The worst I’ve seen is snow up to my chest.
My second “thank goodness” is that as the rain and wind kick up outside, I can sit here inside. Safe. Cozy. Warm. Dry. I’m wearing a smile because I’m prepared. The terrace furniture is stored in the basement. I’ve added an extra cord of wood to the woodpile. The lawn is mowed neat and short, and the John Deere tractor is winterized and covered. I’ve stocked up the freezer with chickens, fish filets, venison and an assortment of vegetables. I’ve even bought 5 gallons of kerosene and several lanterns. I’m ready for whatever winter throws at me.
Such preparation wasn’t always the case. When I first moved Downeast in 2003, I didn’t think any farther ahead than dinner. What do you expect? I grew up in suburban Connecticut. Most anything I needed was within my immediate grasp. Town was just six minutes away. Every half hour, I could catch a train and in 40 minutes be in New York’s Grand Central Station.
My transition from a bustling cosmopolitan life to rural Downeast Maine didn’t happen overnight. Oh no. First there were the distances to deal with. Portland, our biggest city, is four hours away. The closest Staples is more than an hour away in Bangor. We’re so remote that I once saw a bear crossing the road in front of me while driving to the supermarket. And another time, while driving to Bangor for a toner cartridge, I saw a moose standing beside the highway.
When I first moved Downeast, I spent half the day driving. I was going to Bangor four, sometimes five, times a week and occasionally twice a day. “Oh, I need printer paper.” Jump in the car and go. “Alice, my Airedale, needs her special dog food.” Off we go. “I feel like going to the library and researching lobsters for a story I’m writing.” Why not?
Because the library is an hour and a half away; that’s why not.
I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me almost six months to figure out that I could plan ahead, keep a list of items that were getting low, and even stock up on essentials–an extra tube of toothpaste, a few boxes of Kleenex and a big bag of kitty litter. And that was just the beginning of my transition. In another three months, I was going to Bangor only every two weeks. Within six months, I was down to once a month.
My final conversion to Downeast Maine life came with my understanding that country people prepare for winter. They don’t wake up one morning to four inches of snow and turn to the dog and say, “Hmmm. I wonder who I can get to plow the driveway? Well I guess I better buy a snow shovel.”
I’ve come a long way in seven years. The proof: It’s been six months since I’ve been to Bangor. And, yes, I feel smug this winter.
Prepare for Your Book Launch
Since preparedness is the theme of this post, I would be remiss not to make the link between life’s preparations and starting early with your book marketing. If you haven’t been over to Women’s Memoirs in a while, I’d like to invite you to check out our series of Lists for Writers posts. Our goal is to help you get started early with your book marketing and platform development.
This week, we’ve posted on using YouTube as part of your book promotion: Lists for Writers: 10 Tips for Using YouTube to Promote Your Memoir (or Any Book)
In past weeks, we’ve also posted:
As with all aspects of social media marketing, you need to prepare ahead and not wait until your book is published. Give yourself six months to a year for your efforts to catch on.