Of course, there is always a story behind every story. Bit by bit, the details of what precipitated my memoir, Ready to Come About, are getting out.
Earlier this month, the historic waterfront bookstore, Nautical Mind, posted an article I wrote called “I Grew … We Grew Together“. This article discussed an event that, in part, led to my bizarre decision to sail the Atlantic Ocean with my husband, David. It also described just a little bit the many challenges we had on this improbable adventure on the high seas. Perhaps what I like most about this article is the title, because it sums up what I feel to my core, that this experience was life-altering in ways David and I could never have imagined possible. Thank you Nautical Mind Bookstore!
Just this last Tuesday, Dundurn Press published an article I wrote called “Writing is a Lot Like Appliqué“. The following is from the prologue to my book:
This was David’s dream, not mine. Far from it. I loved family and friends, our dog, our home, my job as an occupational therapist. Appliqué was my idea of a thrill. I didn’t have an adventure-seeking bone in my body.
I have had a life-long interest in fibre-arts. In this article, I talk about how, much to my surprise, I discovered that the process of writing is, in lots of ways, similar to that of creating an appliqué. Coincidentally, the cover of Ready to Come About is based on one of my appliqués! I am thrilled! Thank you, Dundurn Press!
Then the Guelph Mercury Tribune published an opinion piece with the following headline:
Guelph author Sue Williams felt compelled to tell life story
Jeremy Luke Hill talks to ‘Ready to Come About’ author about her true life adventure and personal journey
In this piece Jeremy Luke Hill, Publisher of Gordon Hill Press, recaps an interview he had with me regarding the writing of my memoir. Here is the link to the interview. Thank you so much, Jeremy, for your interest in my book and for the support of the Vocamus Writer’s Community!
If you are interested in these “stories behind the story”, you can access each of the mentioned articles by simply clicking on the links provided in this post.
There are some positive life events that simply will never be forgotten. Your first romantic kiss. (David claims I kissed him first). Your wedding day. Birth of your children. The arrival of grandchildren.
For ocean sailors, that first landfall.
For writers, an acceptance following so many rejections.
For me, another such event was the night of the book launch of my memoir, Ready to Come About.
This was held last Thursday night, June 6th, at the eBar of Guelph’s iconic bookstore, The Bookshelf. I was blown away by the size of the crowd that came out to wish me well, so many that I was unable to have time meet with everyone.
I am deeply grateful to all who attended the event and want to say “ A BIG THANK YOU”. It was you who made the night successful: family, old friends from years gone by, new friends, neighbours, Waupooian sailors (if there is such a word), my childhood best friend, my OT colleagues and classmates, my roommate from university, fellow writers, writing instructors and mentors, and people I met for the very first time.
Also, a special thanks to Randy Litchfield who did such a great introduction, to the eBar staff that worked hard to make the night a success, and to our son John and daughter-in-law Emilyn, with Nathan Smith, for the music … and the performance of Nathan’s song, “Set Sail”.
Days later, I am still flying high.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!
My grandparents, while in their early sixties, the age I am now, were diagnosed with severe progressive neurological disorders; my grandfather had ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, my grandmother, an aggressive form of Parkinson’s. They lived in a modest stone house, downtown Hamilton, Ontario. My mom and dad were their main, almost only, source of support.
While my parents cut the lawn, shopped, and banked for them, I followed my grandmother as she shuffled around the kitchen making a Finnish staple, “Pulla”. And I watched my grandfather put classical music on their Hi Fi, usually Sibelius, then hook himself up to a tube connected to his liquid “lunch-in-a-bag” hanging from the chandelier in the centre of the living room. He had lost the ability to swallow.
Even though I was only around eight at the time, their struggles made me ache. But I also marveled at their ability to still find joy in their shrinking worlds. And their desire to hold onto what independence they had, shaped me, profoundly and forever.
In high school I was told about the profession of occupational therapy, and that, at its core were: the view that there are lots of ways to live a life; the belief that autonomy and self-determination is what makes us whole; and the assertion that we have the right to take risks. In that instant, I knew I was meant to be an OT!
My career spanned several decades, throughout which I embraced those core OT values – that is, as a professional, with my clients. However, as a parent of three sons, sometimes I wasn’t so sure.
Ready to Come About, being released by Dundurn Press this May, is the story of my improbable year on the North Atlantic, and my personal journey within, through which the mom in me ultimately became convinced there is no more precious gift than the liberty to chart one’s own course, and risk is a good thing… sometimes, at least.
Given the OT subtext of Ready to Come About, I emailed OT Extraordinaire, Sue Baptiste, to ask if she would be an advance reader. Her answer was an immediate “yes”, and her praise, swift and high.
To my delight, here is what she had to say:
Recently I joined Sue for a wonderful lunch in Hamilton.
Thank you so much, Sue Baptiste!
I am so excited to announce the book launch for my memoir, Ready to Come About, being published by Dundurn Press.
Come and join David and me in the celebration! We will have refreshments, live music and readings (yikes!). The book will be on sale, and there will be a cash bar.
Here is a little blurb about the book:
It wasn’t a midlife crisis. She wasn’t running from the law. She didn’t have an adventure-seeking bone in her body. In the wake of a perfect storm of personal events, Sue suddenly became convinced that, in her sons’ best interest, she had to get out of their way. And her husband, David, needed to follow his dream to cross an ocean. So she’d go too.
Ready to Come About, Sue’s debut book, is a compelling memoir about her improbable adventure on the high seas, and her profound journey within, through which she grew to believe there is no more precious gift than the liberty to chart one’s own course, and that risk is a good thing… sometimes, at least.
Early Praise for Ready to Come About:
I love Sue’s book, a startling, swashbuckling sea adventure, and all the hilarious and terrifying details of that, combined with the very personal story of lost connections and deep love. It is a remarkable story — heroic and inspiring.
Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking
A thrilling adventure, a profound love story, and a testament of self-discovery that will make you cheer. It is not only an empowering memoir, but also a very fine book.
Barbara Kyle, author of A Traitor’s Daughter
Hope to see you at the event! If you need any more information, such as where to stay in Guelph, please contact me below: