Monday, December 10, 2018

Stars & Seas is 1 Month Old!

Cover image from Stars & Seas
My baby, Stars & Seas, is a month old!

Almost a year ago I started writing a series of poetry that would eventually become my first poetry chapbook, Stars and Seas. It took many hours of writing, revising, editing, arranging, editing, writing, illustrating, researching, editing, and formatting. Many half-panicked texts to my writing buddies. Many google-searches looking for the ultimate self-publishing crash course.

Finally, on November 4th, the book went live in the Blurb bookstore.

To say I'm blown away by all of your support and enthusiasm is a gross understatement. This fall has been an eye-opening experience, and a "well, duh!" experience, for pretty much the same reasons.

Knowing the incredibly loving, generous, and supportive community I am part of, I shouldn't be surprised. And yet, I repeatedly find myself marveling at the number of people who sent me pictures when their copy of my chapbook arrived, asked me to sign their copy, or asked how sales are going.

The "dedication," of sorts...
I suppose this comes down to Impostor Syndrome, the undercurrent of "surely they'll realize I'm not all that" in my inner monologue. Daily I find myself embarrassed by my lack of confidence in the genuineness of my relationships, but anxiety still tells me you all think I'm annoying and you're all waiting for excuses to drop out of my life. Shut up, anxiety! Of course, I have all this doubt, but I also know very well what it's like to be on your side of things, actively trying to encourage and support the artists, writers, and other creatives in my life!  Look, no one ever said anxiety makes sense, okay?

You can imagine my surprise last week when I received an email from Blurb, the print-on-demand company handling my book production and sales.

In one month I made the first $100 of my writing career! 

That's purely from book sales, and doesn't count a few dollars I've made with my Stars & Seas art on Redbubble.

As I look back at the other little milestones in my creative career, I find myself counting blessings I never would have imagined back in 5th grade, when I decided I liked writing...

For instance, my first published poem was in a fun little Christian teen mag when I was 18.

I just dug out that issue of Encounter to peer down memory lane ever so briefly. While I'm not so impressed by my writing, I am glad that I was able to kick of my writing career with 20 lines of worship, and thankful to Standard Publishing for accepting my work. I hope you sense the tone that set in the rest of my written work, because I feel it in every poem I write. Faith is a difficult thing, but no matter how my feet wander, I can't imagine the hopelessness of giving it up and striking out on my own, without God's presence.

Another blessing? Stumbling my way into a job where I receive writing inspiration every single day! I listen to audio books pretty much every day at work, and folks, that (along with a steady paycheck, awesome coworkers, a kind boss, and regular hours) has been a God-send. If you've never read a book, article, or blog post about ways to kick-start creativity and/or become a better writer, let me tell you one tip they all say: read more books. Ladies and gentlemen, Stars & Seas is proof that listening to audio-books also counts!

I was inspired to write Stars & Seas after listening to two different books about space-travel (Scott Kelly's "Endurance" and "A Man on the Moon" by Andrew Chaikin). Since then I've kept a mini yellow legal pad in my desk to jot down bits of inspiration as they come. That pad was basically the first home of Stars & Seas.

A peek inside Stars & Seas, for those who have yet to purchase. No hard
feelings, I love you anyway!
I'm blessed to have found ways to combine my two great loves, art and writing. I've had a habit of weaving back and forth between the two as I grew up. I planned to get a degree in drawing or illustration, and instead I got a degree in English. I ran an Etsy shop for a few years, and closed it around the time I started putting a lot of effort into trying to get some of my writing published (a constant, on-going process; I just received another rejection email two days ago!). Stars & Seas was the first non-academic project that truly combined writing and art. I look forward to many, many more chances to share these two passions simultaneously.

Most of all, as I said at the beginning of this post, I've come to realize how extravagantly blessed I am by the community I call my family and friends. Your support has been firmer than any rock I could stand on, and every day I thank God for you.

All in all, the past few months have been quite a roller coaster ride, and I look forward to what the coming months have to offer!

Thank you all,
-Cailey

P.s. I'm still obsessed with space-travel and I'll gladly accept book recommendations if you know of any other awesome space books. Fiction and nonfiction are both welcome, just as long as it's interesting! I recently finished "The Martian" by Andy Weir, and earlier this year I fell in love with Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles." Maybe my next poetry book with be about Mars? Who knows!

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