Archive for the ‘hope’ Category

Death Masks & Living With Your Own Mortality
February 17, 2014

Brilliant words written by Katie Locke, for National Eating Disorders Awareness Month, February 2014.

Be a friend. Tell a friend. Get help. Help a friend get help. ❤

I share Katie’s post in memory of two of my own beloved friends, Sarah and Tierney, gone too soon. ❤

Thank you, Katie, for your bravery and honesty in sharing your story. I know it will help so many people!

Take care of yourselves and take care of each other,


Katherine Locke

I wish that there was a way for people to experience an eating disorder safely so they understood what it’s like living inside that mind. One of my best friends who goes by SiriCerasi online is blogging about eating disorders here (mega trigger warning) and she’s doing a beautiful eloquent job.

In particular, she said this at the end of a recent blog post:

Each day, I am a survivor. Each day, I don’t let the eating disorder or the depression or the anxiety win, because each day ends with me still alive.

Want to know what it’s like to have an eating disorder?

Every now and then, you google the names of the girls and guys you met online, in livejournal communities, on xanga (I’m dating myself here), on tumblr, on instagram, and on Facebook, to see if they’re still alive.

You. Google. Names. To. Find. Out. If. They’re…

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My Novel Sold To St. Martin’s Griffin! : ) Part One.
January 25, 2012

What’s been saved in my work inbox for 14 months, 8 weeks, 4 days:
This one, I wrote to myself. (A writer can dream, winks.)
Dear Emily,
 We’ve received FIVE offers from editors at amazing NYC publishing houses!
They love your novel and we’re looking at a significant deal, a multi-book contract and Oprah wants the novel for her book club.
Good work! More information to follow,
Agent Extraordinaire
I came across this quote below, and although I’m spiritual, not religious, I found it beautiful — both reassuring and strengthening. At times it feels like divine intervention alone is how one gets published. Maybe it is. I did do an awful lot of petitioning of my dead friend and dead grandmothers. Sometimes all we want to know is that we’re on the right path.
Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven.  This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you.  I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand.  But without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road.  You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.  When you consider this radiant destination, the roughness or smoothess of the road ahead becomes much less significant.  I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual Presence and the hope of heaven. 
Romans 12:12; Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:18-19.
The next is just plain-old lovely.
“Be who God meant you to be,
and you will set the world on fire.”
St. Catherine of Sienna
I’ve been trying and trying to write this post, to no avail. I’m not one of those writers who (beforehand) imagines writing a post like this. Truth be told, I find myself feeling quite shy about it. How shy? As shy as reading your diary to a crowd. Yeah, that shy. Welcome to my head. Watch your step.
Agent Bob Diforio’s blurb stays in my inbox, also, because after years and years of rejection, I keep reading it as a reality check. To make sure this is real.

Christmas came early for debut literary YA novelist Emily Murdoch. In a spirited submission  creating buzz among dozens of editors, publishers and publicity people who quickly read her extraordinary novel, THE PATRON SAINT OF BEANS, it was Jennifer Weis of St. Martin’s who carried the day for North American Rights;  sold by Bob Diforio and Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Emily was inspired to write the novel after reading about a mother who kidnapped her son and fled to Brazil. In “Beans”, violin prodigy Carey Blackburn and her mute little sister, Jenessa, have spent their entire lives in a broken-down camper deep in the forest of a national park, forced to cope with their drug-addicted mother only sporadically on hand, until they are rescued by a father they don’t know and learn the truth about their early childhood. As they adjust to the real world of school, malls and other children – especially boys – Carey is weighed down by a dark secret that threatens the only good luck she’s ever known.

A brilliant YA novel with adult cross-over appeal, editors found the work both moving and magical.

I didn’t realize that even praise can take some getting used to. Which is how I came to realize what was holding me back from writing this post: the entanglement of personal and public feelings.
Once I agreed to publish, my book became itself — a separate entity increasingly out  of my control.
Let’s look back. I was one of those people admonished as a child for being too sensitive — as if sensitivity were a negative thing. (Sensitive child in your midst? You may just have an artist on your hands. Celebrate that fact, that sensitivity. A child could do worse than to possess a deeply feeling heart.)
I’m also one of those people who keeps my feelings close to the vest. And what I feel about selling The Patron Saint Of Beans to St. Martin’s Griffin is a feeling so personal, profound, and public all at the same time, that it remains gestational in its development. For all intensive purposes, it’s a baby novel. I’m a baby author. All the words are new.
But what I can articulate is that however many years I’m lucky to live, this will remain one of the most amazingly awesome moments of my life.
On to the story.

The two weeks preceding December 19th, 2011 (the date of my sale) were an amazing whirlwind of hope, praise, editor reads and offers, telephone conferences with editors and pinch-me-hard moments.

I was subbed to both adult and young adult editors. I had offers from both adult and young adult editors. At one point, when I thought we’d settled on a publisher/editor and my agents informed the other editors, they said no!

They wouldn’t take no for an answer!

And so more offers came in. A pre-empt came and went. Choices, choices, choices, from no, no, no’s. I felt like a character in a novel whose obstacles had been removed. Reality was so surreal, such a rocket ride, such a blessed, lucky, thank-you-Universe kind of moment, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.

When I was seven-years-old and in the midst of reading every single book in the elementary school library, I used to imagine my books on the school library shelves, not in the bookstores. Books to transport eager, earnest children into parallel worlds of dark and light. Books poking like crocuses through the snow, opening curious hearts and minds to worlds where underdogs prevailed, where obstacles existed for good reason: to grow a person deeper, stronger, taller. Pages. Places where anything was — IS — possible.

What an amazing thing to be a part of.

If you’d like to add my novel on Goodreads, or friend me, please go here: Goodreads

I believe the good things happen to us so we can pay it forward. A portion of the proceeds of “Beans” will benefit Taylor Hendrix’s Christmas Project.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor, battling osteosarcoma, gathers gifts in backpacks each Christmas to brighten the spirits of cancer teens in hospital over the holidays. For more information, see my previous post: Taylor’s Christmas Project.

Part Two to follow …

A Kindle for Ellie Potvin.
January 2, 2010

Ellie on 2009 Christmas Disney cruise, before beginning another round of chemotherapy.

I’m sitting at the kitchen bar, looking out the picture window at the sanctuary dogs in their kennels, sprawled out upside down in the sun. Usually when I write, there’s noise or music; today, it’s the silence I feel most grateful for — the stillness it brings on a slow, desert Saturday that is mine to spend in whatever way brings peace or pleasure. 

Just the day itself is a blessing. I’m home and I can do whatever I want, perched near to those I love, my books, my dogs, my horses. Just to have my life to myself, forgetting my body because I have no pain, choosing where I sleep, eat, write and even what I see out my window — it’s all a blessing. Taking things for granted is a luxury. 

I compare this to Ellie Potvin’s Saturday. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. 


Ellie is a sweet, kind, 8-year-old girl with relapsed Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer she and her family thought they’d beat after over forty doses of chemotherapy. Amy Potvin, Ellie’s Mom, writes with joy of a laughter-filled summer full of love and fun, having graciously learned cancer’s lesson of living in the moment and taking nothing for granted, so thankful that their daughter, twin sister to Grace Potvin, fought hard and won her battle with cancer.  


And then, the diagnosis in Fall of 2009: Ellie’s cancer had relapsed, and scans showed fast-growing tumors in her lungs and abdomen. 

I can’t explain why I am so touched by this little girl, this family. Perhaps it’s because they possess so much faith at a time so many would lose faith … and display so much grace and courage in the midst of a situation that would break the best of us and bring us to our knees.

I try on their shoes each day as I follow updates on Ellie … 

… or follow Amy Potvin’s twitter account: @amypotvin, riding the emotional wave from afar as this family is “in it to win it” against cancer. Looking on, a person can’t help but feel moved to do something

It was just a few days ago that I had the idea of getting Ellie a Kindle reading device. As I read about Ellie starting another course of chemotherapy, I worried about the days she’d feel too sick, tired or nauseous to distract herself with arts and crafts. With a Kindle, she could choose books her Mom could read to her, along with Amy Potvin having access to newspapers and other reading material, a.k.a, the world outside the hospital. Such luxuries often recede to the background in financially and emotionally tough situations. 

And then it hit me: what about asking to donate a Kindle device, or personally collect donations from caring individuals to buy Ellie a Kindle? So, I sent an email off to

My name is Emily Murdoch, and I’m hoping to speak to someone in authority that handles your Kindle device. 

 This is in regards to an eight-year-old girl named Ellie Potvin, with relapsed Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer and rapidly growing tumors in her lungs and abdomen. The first three lines of chemotherapy haven’t worked, and she was just given a 4 week prognosis if the fourth line chemo she’s beginning doesn’t shrink or stop the growth of her tumors.
For this chemo, Ellie needs to be in the hospital for a week each third week of the month, which means, away from her twin sister Grace, school, her friends, father and all that makes life bright for a child. She hates the hospital, but knows she’s sick.
I’m looking to speak to someone who might be able to donate a Kindle device to Ellie Potvin so her mother can read to her while she’s in the hospital undergoing treatment and too sick from the side-effects of chemotherapy to move around or do crafts.
As book lovers know, a magical world lives within the pages of a book, capable of transporting people out of their immediate circumstances. While a Kindle device can’t cure cancer, it could bring some joy to hospital stays for a little girl facing the toughest battle of her life.
I understand how difficult it can be to read or hear about this type of situation. But I do hope you’ll “pay it forward” and direct me to someone in the company who could gift this little girl with a Kindle, or lead me to someone who knows someone who could.
Thank you so much for your help,
Emily Murdoch
@LeftyWritey on Twitter


Recently, I was in touch with a person from Kindle, who wrote me: 

Hi, I just saw your message. I will forward the message to Amazon. 

Ellie’s [Caringbridge] site is being spread around Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace through my friend (a doctor) who has many followers, so hope it helps. 

I hope it helps, too. (Thank you, and thank you, Dr. Jose Guevara — @DrJoseGuevara)

In the meantime, I’m running a drive to collect donations for a  #Kindle4Ellie. All proceeds will go toward purchasing Ellie a Kindle in case an Amazon donation doesn’t come through. Any extra funds will be donated to Ellie’s Fund … 

Lift Up Ellie!

… to help the Potvin family with expenses as they “kick cancer’s butt with a smile”. (Please feel free to donate directly.)

You can donate to #Kindle4Ellie through to the email address: Kindle4Ellie(at)aol(dot)com.

(A Kindle costs $259.00. If you have any questions, you can find me on twitter, @LeftyWritey.)

Kindle 4 Ellie Official Donation Page now posted:

UPDATE:  Ellie’s Kindle Is On Its Way!

Most of all, the Potvin family and Ellie could use your prayers. Please help us #LiftUpEllie and join in the call for a miracle! 

A smile as wide as the world.

 UPDATE: Angel Wings For Ellie Potvin:

 Photographs by Amy Potvin