Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You are what you read

Books are constantly being dropped off at KAXE for me - from publishers, authors, PR people...sometimes there are so many I miss what they are about. And then sometimes, I pick one up, I set up an interview, and it is EXACTLY the book I should be reading. It's about something I've been thinking about or reading about in other places.

Literary serendipity.

A couple of weeks ago now, I got a call to interview an author that was in town for the day. Mostly, the interviews I do for Realgoodwords are by phone - not many authors make Grand Rapids a stop in their publicity tours.

Bestselling self-help author Melody Beattie was in Grand Rapids... I recognized her name from her first book "Codependent No More". Melody's latest book is called "The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting Through All Kinds of Change". Melody and I had a really intense, interesting conversation - a lot of it was really relevant for my life, right now. This idea of a Grief Club. Lately, as my dad has been hospitalized, I've been amazed at how many people have been in contact with me - showing concern, telling me they had been through something similar. Though it doesn't really make things any better, it helps to hear other people's stories of losing someone you love. It helps a whole lot.

That's exactly what Melody's "The Grief Club" is about - joining a club we don't have any choice in - finding people who understand - get through the changes of life. Melody herself has battled many hardships in her life - the loss of a child, parent, her own health issues. I think the reason Melody's work has been so successful is that she is honest about her own life.

Melody said to me, "This is the most joyful book I've written. People wanted to talk about their losses.... I'm known for disguising people's identity. People wanted me - they begged me - to use their real names and I began to see that people wanted to be heard - they wanted to tell their story... They wanted to know that somehow someway the loss that they went through was making a difference in the world - that it counted for something."

Tune in to this week's Realgoodwords for our conversation. What book has been given to you - or you picked up - that was EXACTLY what you needed at that time in your life? Post them here!


VickiRR said...

Heidi - we'd been worried about you, it seemed like you were off the air a lot. So sorry to hear that your dad has been in the hospital. I went through that many years ago when my dad had a cardiac arrest and then a stroke. I remember getting on the phone with co-workers, family and friends and just going on and on all the details. And then through the next fifteen years as mom took care of dad at home, and then they both went to a nursing home, it always helped to just tell someone what was going on. I think it helps us process the reality of it.
Peace and angels to you - hope everything turns out all right. And you can always call me if you just need an uninvolved person to blabber (or blubber) to.
Love ya,

VickiRR said...

Oh yeah, btw, this sounds like a fantastic book!
You always have a way of coming up with the right book at the right time for me! ("Identical Strangers", "Keeping the House", "Waking..." all came at the 'right time'!)

Heidi Holtan said...

Hey Vic! thanks for your thoughts - it all helps :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's not just a book that hits the needs for the day -- this blog just did it for me this morning -- both the grief issue and Kieth in AK.
Thanks for keeping this blog going -- meaningful to me.

VickiRR said...

Hey, now to actually answer your question: Sylvia Browne's Book of Angels was given to me by my niece when my mother/(her grandmother) was dying. It was an incredible experience, and although some of the book is a bit 'hokey' in my mind, it really did make me believe in angels. It was the perfect book at a difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Heidi...we've talked a lot and here's a wonderful quote..."There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. they speak more eloquently than 10,000 tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." -Washington Irving

Sometimes it helps to have a good cry. Thinking of you,

Heidi Holtan said...

Thanks Peter and Thanks Karen. I appreciate it!