“If Only One Person Is Helped…”

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One of the major visions/goals that helped me write through, and edit through, and self-publish through the doubt, skepticism and fear of creating this book was the vision of at least one person being helped by it. I told myself that I was writing for that one person, and if it reached them, my reason for going through all of this mess was worth it.

Well here I am, on the other side of getting through the creation and birthing phases, and I gotta’ tell you it’s a weird feeling. To date, I have had at least three people write me and tell me how my book really helped them with their food and body issues (not including my editor, as synchronicity would have it!). And in the moment, the warm honey-like glow that came over me as I received their feedback felt like Yes. This is the reason I wrote this. My work has been done.

I received most of this feedback from women, but there was one man who responded and this was the one that took me. He spoke of his struggles and his healing path, how it mirrored a lot of mine, and how it was helpful to read someone else’s journey that wasn’t of the “perfect recovery in a box ilk.” And that also wasn’t like the typical female struggle, so that it was one he could relate to. This was my biggest hope, not that my book would provide “linear steps to freedom,” but that my words would be read, my cyclic journey with healing felt, and that this would resonate and give hope to the less linear journeyers out there. Regardless of gender. So yes, this reflected a dream, a hope, accomplished, and my gratitude for this healing effect on others was sated. Temporarily.

It’s now been almost a month since the release of Food Memories and all the flurry of facing my fears of what would happen if my story went public, of the release party and appreciations, of these dear people who bought and reviewed and wrote to me and told me of the impact of the book on their life. It’s been almost a month and at this point, it is very, very quiet.

No sales. No new reviews. No more feedback.

I knew this might happen. I allowed, of course, for the shiny possibility of the book finding its way to people’s hands and building an organic, magical following without my effort. That was another dream–that if this book (and my friggin’ private insides) needed to be seen by more people, it would happen in this way. I had no interest in forcing that, through marketing, etc then, and I still have no interest in doing this. But now, as I suspected might occur without my direct involvement, I am in the dead zone, or at least seemingly so.

I have done some work to move the book into the world, in ways that don’t just blurt out and splay said insides to as many people as possible. I’ve mailed it to several healers, therapists and experts in the field. I even mailed it to a father of a young woman who is struggling with severe Anorexia, to help him with perspective and to offer my time as a guide if needed. This all felt good to do, putting copies of Food Memories in the mail to do its work in the world. But now, after some weeks, there is just this silence. Who knows how my story is working its ways with these people, or whether they’ve the chance to read it in the craziness that is our world predicament these days.

In this silence, I am left to wonder what I am to do next, and whether I should force the publicity of this book or wait for it to simmer. I wonder what the most aligned thing is to do. I am terrified, still, of having masses of people know my story, but am willing if it is the best for all concerned. I am not really concerned with the sales for money sake, more just wanting to see the book–and all I was “guided” to put into it–out and fulfilling its purpose. I fear it will just die if I don’t feed it in some way. But how? What is truly authentic for me to do?

I plan to follow up with these people I’ve sent the book to. I wish I didn’t have to, that the book would have affected them so that they would feel compelled to contact me. That something bigger than myself would move this into larger fields. That something bigger than my own need for feedback would take place. To prove it was worth it. But that’s not how it’s panning out, and I’m making this mean that there is still some part I have to play in bringing the book to more people. Maybe it is part of my life-game, to explore polarities further from silence and humility. Who knows.

All this silence has put me back in touch with that expansive, universe-wide space of void that I feel inside regarding my purpose here on this planet. Without the momentum and hopes of writing the book, without the way the initial feedback felt, and without the clear desire to market it like mad, I am left here to wonder what I’m really doing here, what I really wrote that book for, whether there was guidance in all of that or just some fantasy crafted life meaning I whipped up to quell the existential angst inside.

Don’t know. But what I do know (and am hanging onto with dear life so I don’t slide down that precarious dark slope) is that the goal, the vision, the dream that kept me going in writing Food Memories came true. A major life goal…and fear…was accomplished. And that one person, to my astonishment, was helped by the words I bared on the page.

Blessed, blessed be.

~Food Memories by Reagan Lakins, is available in all online bookstores. If you want to support a small bookstore, you can purchase it through Bookwoman at: https://www.ebookwoman.com or request it through your local bookstore. If you feel moved to purchase and read my story, thank you! I would love to know how and if it affected you :}


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You know how weird it feels to wake up on the day of your birthday and feel like nothing is really drastically different, despite the utter impossibility of the new number you now inhabit? That’s how I’ve been feeling this past week, not because it was my day of birth, but because it’s the “after” of choosing to press publish.

As mentioned last week, it was unexpectedly quiet after doing so, aside from my internal revelations. And this past week has been similarly quiet, a few emails from friends and colleagues cheering me on for my accomplishment were all that seemed different than my pre-published state.

My original plan was to let this book float out into the universe and to see what happened, without engaging in the weirdness that is marketing. And I’ve kept to that, aside from alerting chosen friends and those involved along the way (including you :}) with the completion of the goal.

In the relative silence of this choice, I started to wonder about that plan, whether I should be doing more to encourage my book’s success in the world. Again I picked up sassy marketing books, contemplated entering contests, sharing about the publication with social media. Again I balked. Something, at least right now, doesn’t feel right about it. All the advice screamed, “Get on it now, or your book will go unnoticed! Pre-launch and post-launch are perfect times to run a book giveaway!”


Yet with these suggestions ringing in my mind, all I could envision was my book as a very small baby, and what it might feel like to be marketed and sold to the world, social media, etc. And of course this made my skin crawl…an obvious reaction with that re-frame. I also thought of my new-born vulnerability and how crazy it still feels to have my soul out there to be read by anyone. Do I want to gather millions to ogle at that? Um..no. I for one don’t even want most people to know I’ve had the baby! Do many new parents face this conflict?

Herein lies the strange and complex journey of following the soul’s guidance to do something scary, sometimes kicking and screaming whilst doing so. Whereas what a writer should want is many readers, I am the opposite, at least in having the desire to find them. I am open and willing to be seen by those who somehow find the book, but to call attention to it en masse does not feel right. Am I making a mistake, letting my book die on the vine? Who knows. All I know is I feel like puking every time I look at marketing material.

I’ve been going through pictures from my mother’s recent passing, and in them I found one of me as a child on stage with my mother. I’m in a blue and white polka dotted bathing suit, and there’s a sign behind us, “Tri-county Beauty Contest.” I’m probably about four years old. She has a marvelous bouffant hair-do and is dressed to the nines. It brought me pause to think that she did that, enrolled her four year old in a beauty contest, but the age span made me think. Perhaps it will be when my babe is four years old that I will feel ready to bring her on stage to the wider audience. Who knows?

For now, I’m letting it be. I’m enjoying the silence, although a little uncomfortable I’m doing it “wrong.” I’m gazing at my babe poised on my ancestor altar, amazed by it. I’m waiting. I’m asking for its journey to unfold for the greatest alignment of all concerned. I’m holding it, and my vulnerable self, like a baby not yet ready to face the screaming, blaring, honking, critiquing world all at once.

This blog seems to be a safe place to show her off, in a non-smarmy way. To share about the process of her in-utero growth, the ups and downs, and finally her birth. I’m so grateful for that, for you who make it here to read. Thanks for being the small community that I can share her with.

Food Memories Update

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As I sit here today, I realize this blog has become a mish-mash of sorts: updates on my memoir publication process, random spur-of-the-moment rants about my relationship with food and body, and an occasional burst of poetry.

My original intention for this space was to recount my adventures with trying to eat more joyfully despite the physical pain and discomfort of it all, and while I have done that to a degree, this blog has seemed to take a few turns from that place. So hats off to those of you who are still with me on this twisting theme roller coaster :}

Today I am pulled to give an update on the progress, albeit slow, of my upcoming memoir, Food Memories. Thanks also to those who have stuck through this with me as I wriggle my way through this process.

There isn’t a whole lot to say aside from the fact that I am closing in on the final touches of the last edit, have a cover/format assistant helping with its appearance…and am really close to hitting the upload/publish button (gulp). I still think it is a totally crazy thing to be doing this, but I am doing it anyway. I still tremble in my boots in thinking that the private thoughts, memories and revealing nature of my book will be out available for public viewing. For public commenting, kind or nasty.

And I still also fear that nothing will happen after I release it. Silence, grasshoppers, nada, nilch. That all of the years and money and fear and hesitation will have been for “nothing.” That is one voice in my head, of course. I know that the “process is the journey,” and I’ve learned so much from it. Yet there is a part that still really wants this book to have a powerful meaning and effect on its readers. This part wants to experience validation and proof that my urge to write and share this sensitive information, to splay myself out naked in front of the world, had some reasoning behind it.

Yet there is a part of me that is bracing, and accepting the possibility of only the chorus of crickets. And for that to be okay. For the fact that I had a powerful urge to create and share this thing, before I die, and that I did it. I’m really feeling more and more okay with that being it if it turns out to be true.

The ironic thing here is that I am not feeling pulled to do any marketing on the book, other than here, to get more people to view it! It is terrifying enough to have it available for public viewing, let alone me actively parading it around trying to get people to read it. I simply am trusting that it will find who it needs to find in the river, and if there is any kind of need for interaction that comes of that slow burning fireball lobbed into the universe, I am available. But purposely putting effort into getting thousands of people to read it? Sheesh no!

I have to laugh at my complicity in my own possible authorship demise, lol, but it’s true. And I am sticking to it unless some other opportunity reveals itself.

So. The update:

~Final edit, check.

~Cover and formatting, almost check.

~Boots quaking, definitely check.

~Acceptance and (mostly) non-attachment to outcome, check, check and check.

Thanks again for following my loopy process :} When I hit that publishing button, you’ll be the first (and probably only!) to know.

Preventing Stillbirth

So I did it. I picked up my book, Food Memories, again.

I lit a candle and settled in to read the words I have been avoiding reading for months now. My intention was to review my memoir as a whole and to have a bird’s eye view of its message, to have some thoughts to dialogue about with my cousin. If you didn’t read my last post, I mentioned that my cousin has a connection in publishing, and upon reading my writing, he had a few suggestions before he felt comfortable forwarding it to his contact.

His suggestions were kind, but clear. He asked if I would attend to them and get back to him in a couple weeks. Its been 2 months now.

I finally felt ready to re-read this weekend. This time, it was easier than expected to look at my creation. I found myself transported from my childhood, through my teen years, the hospitalization years, the professional years, the vision quest years, the atheist/agnostic years. I remembered my dead mother. I remembered my dead boyfriend. I remembered my dead vision to become a healer. I remembered my poet. I remembered my writer. I remembered all of the years I have put into this book, its writing, and all the amazing people I have had cheering me on, reading beta copies.

I noticed typos, minor but there. I was not deterred. A crisp, truly shining manuscript will arise from my corrections, I found myself thinking. I even noticed where there were some holes in the story, and a few more food memories that might want to be added to fill the tale more. I also realized the gargantuan task I face in having to completely re-haul my book proposal, now that my promotion section is basically null and void. Book tours and conference workshops aren’t really viable in the foreseeable future, eh?

But all of these things did not make me stop reading, as they did before. There is a new determination burning in me, and I will do what it takes to get there. I will call my cousin, and tell him my findings. I will see what comes of that. I will contact my writing teacher, my editor, for their support and guidance on how to reformat my proposal for these times. I will ask for guidance on how to craft my query letters, how to hone my message, how to forge ahead.

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Marketing and business is not my schtick. I don’t have an Instagram account, or even a webpage. (Hell, I still have a flip phone! By choice!). Yet I have spent over 4 years writing and crafting this book into being, and I will not let it be stillborn. At least I will not let it die without trying. This is part of why I keep writing and sharing here about it.

Thanks for coming along with me if you’re here. I hope to announce the release of Food Memories someday very soon.

Publishing, Marketing, Dating and All That Jazz

I’m overwhelmed. There is a certain similarity to the process of research and sales necessary to pitch my book to publishers that reminds me of the process of dating, which I am also overwhelmed by. Here I need to primp up my words, sourced from the depths of my soul cauldron, to make it look presentable enough, attractive enough, to be looked at and considered by companies with thousands of letters and requests to ruffle through each day. Hrumph. I don’t like doing this for dating purposes, and I’m certainly not enjoying it for publishing purposes either.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I am enjoying the research process–looking at comparative literature, seeing how they market their wares. In fact, the other day I found a group of researchers that wrote an article basically calling out for stories like mine, the need for a new paradigm of seeing illness and “recovery” from Anorexia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5116854/. I even surprisingly found my thoughts and experiences mirrored in a book I chose for this process, one I read many years ago and was unimpressed by then: Wasted by Marya Hornbacher. Although I still think the mass of the book is triggering and not related to my journey, the afterword completely mirrored my experience, of Marya’s challenges with the ideas of recovery, at least the linear expectations of it, especially in hindsight after years away from the intense periods of her struggle.

These boons are making the process worthwhile, and exciting in a way, that there may be less of a need for me to completely strip my deep soul message to get “picked up” by a publishing house. That there are others out there that are “credible” I can refer to as having similar messages. That perhaps I can find a balance in representing my work professionally but in a way that doesn’t lose its message…and that a house will actually value that message, not look past it or ask me to make it more mass market friendly.

Yet it still reeks of the social game of dating, of looking pretty for attention, and it feels so ironic that I would be drawn into this process in my search to get my memoir out. My memoir focuses on the difficulties of extreme alteration to accomplish culturally popular goals, acceptance, love. How do I make this effort not that, which it basically is? I’m trying to see this process as a refinement, a conscious and balanced use of self-esteem and soul image to engender a pathway to expression in the wider world. I’m trying to see it like jazz–keeping my scatting, but presenting it in a way that makes its way into fine dining establishments and infuses the listeners with its real, raw and yet undefinable message.

Like dating, jazz is a hard genre to describe, full of complexities. Like both of these, so is the process of trying to market my book. Its uncomfortable, thinking of words I’ll use to impress publishers and readers to consider my book. Yet I’m up for it, mainly because I wonder if this process is exactly what my soul wanted me to engage in as I took on the process of writing and releasing this book. I’ve got hopes that I might learn some things, be surprised by some things, maybe even encouraged and lifted up by the experience.

I still refuse to shave my legs for it though.