These past few weeks I’ve been busy speaking about Breath of Wilderness, Sig and my passions, which has given me the opportunity to make connections with diverse Minnesotans from all corners of the state. On May 9, I spoke at an event at Augsburg College “Am I Measuring Up? Our Stories Rewrite the Rules.” I am still in awe of the powerful, interesting and passionate women I met that day. We had much in common, yet came from different backgrounds, countries, and ages. The other speakers — Kari Logan (performer), Becky Shaheen (singer, songwriter), and Tara Sweeney (artist, writer) — inspired and entertained with their compelling stories. Wow. I felt honored to talk about my writing and how it is my passion but also a platform for my passions. And, I love sharing Sig’s story with others.
The next week I spoke at Senior Fellowship at Como Park Lutheran in St. Paul. My presentation included Sig’s work in saving wild places and the process of writing the book. Everyone was so kind, welcoming and curious.
Last week I attended the North East Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Breath of Wilderness was nominated in the Children’s Literature category. Before and after the ceremony, they held a book fair. I was assigned to share a table with Nikki Rajala, who with her mother Agnes Rajala, wrote Waters Like the Sky, a book about the Voyageurs. Nikki and I connected instantly and later we learned that we were both Augsburg College grads. Small world. Nikki’s book had been nominated in the fiction category. At the event, I reconnected with someone I’d taken a writing class with, a former favorite family babysitter, and one of the first editors of my book. And, of course, we came home with some new books to read.
Grateful is the word I seem to use most often these days to describe how I feel. These opportunities are no different. Who knew that writing this book would allow me to connect, grow and learn in ways I never fathomed?