Margie’s comment in response to my previous post inspires me to share more about the name, Elin Grace Publishing. Her wonderful site is Latebloomerbuds: http://latebloomerbuds.wordpress.com. I enjoy her photos, haiku, and uplifting approach to life! Thanks, Margie!
Following my 20 years of full-time study and work in special education, I experienced my own challenges with major surgery and a chronic illness. I was in my 40s then. I am well now, but it took some time. My recovery overlapped with the precious caregiving years with my mother. She went through so much, for a long time. Her spirit grew ever-strong and more loving. She worked hard to stay with us as long as she could, but had no fear of death. It was amazing to witness. My energy was low during these years. I often looked back at my career in Chicago, among other places. But teaching is also hard physical work and I no longer had the stamina.
So I watched a lot of TV with my mother! She didn’t want silence. No matter how ill she was, she followed and anguished over wars, all the news, every individual human story. Even on what turned out to be her last full day on earth, we watched C-Span for a short time. I remember reading to her from the Psalms and also Robert Frost. Many many people helped her–family, in the medical profession, her pastors, friends, people who took care of her home and yard. Each and every one of us was special and unique.
These are my most precious memories with my mother.
Mom called me Ellen Grace.
So now The Story Of Elin Grace Publishing. I retired from publishing some years ago, but am still promoting our last book, the Welcoming Hope book mentioned in the previous post.
The name is in honor of my grandmothers: Elin and Grace. Elin is a Swedish name, for my father’s mother, whom we called Nanna. She and Poppa Ernie came to Wisconsin from Sweden. My parents gave me the American spelling of Elin, my name Ellen. Grace, my mother’s mother, died exactly a year before I was born, to the day. I feel I know her though, through her art. She made aprons, needlepoint and other crafts. I did not meet Walter, Grace’s husband, either. But in 1993, I went to a family reunion in southwestern Wisconsin and met many of their family. I also understood my deep love of the land and water, and why I was called to leave Chicago and return to my home state. And I still miss Northern Illinois too!
I found Time of Singing through a Poet’s Market book I found at a store, on the way home one semester, after turning my grades in at NEIU, over 20 years ago now. Charles Waugaman was the editor then and was one of the first to take my poetry seriously and publish it, beginning in 1990. We became friends and corresponded after he retired; we did not meet in person, but I feel I know him well. Like blogging friends. We share our hearts through our art.
Through Time of Singing, and other resources, I found other poetry journals and began sending out my work. Rejections are all part of the process–it can take time for a poem to find its true home. I also ordered chapbooks from other poets. I found the simplicity of haiku and tanka books fit well too, with my life.
I wasn’t writing much, though, during my 40s; especially when compared to my 50s and blogging with WordPress. But I had the skills and the support of other artists to make a few little books, which I could not have achieved without the help of Charles Waugaman and Lora Zill from Time of Singing.
So Elin Grace Publishing is a tribute to my grandmothers, for whom I am named. It was always non-profit and low-key, but it sure filled some empty spaces with friendship and creativity.
Lessons learned: we do what we can. As the saying goes, if one door closes, another opens. Sometimes we need to REST for a good while. We don’t know how long we have to make a contribution somewhere. But my faith has grown. And as my mother said, “God works in mysterious ways.”
Welcoming Hope: Poems for those in need was my last book. My mother paid the costs and all proceeds benefit Time Of Singing. I wanted to say thank you to TOS, for helping me begin my life in poetry, and for being a lifeline during some tough years. www.timeofsinging.com