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  • Writer's picturelisamatto

It Took the World To Stop For Me To Start

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

After years of writing, editing, and cursing at my laptop, I finally completed my first published work. It's not like I‘ve been sitting and staring at the keyboard, waiting for a surge of inspiration to push me towards the finish line. I have been working full time, taking care of kids, a husband, a house, and two cats. I could never find the time, space, or motivation to have "my writing" take precedence over "my distractions". Then Covid hit. I had been following the pandemic's pace and whereabouts on the news. When CNN showed empty toilet paper shelves in Seattle, I slowly began to turn my basement into a bodega. By the time household and grocery shortages hit our area, we were well stocked.

While the pandemic's pace was speeding up, the world's pace was slowing down. The whirlwind of trying to balance work, family, and self, was abruptly halted. Time, which had been an elusive luxury for so long, stood still.

What would I do in the midst of the stillness. I could no longer blame the clock for stalling my story. It was now or never. I chose now.

The essence of the book had been painstakingly etched and stashed onto stacks of index cards for years. These stories, experienced first hand or recounted by others, were noted, sorted, and piled into a pathetically bland, cardboard box. When I made the decision to lift the lid on the box again, I did it with purpose. For the first time, after many attempts, I was able to write with clarity. I gifted each vignette with vivid dialogue, allowing my writing style to be conversational. A Tuesday's with Morrie feel. The purpose and intention for writing my story had shifted. I no longer desired to create a revered read that would hopefully catch the eye of a publisher through a carefully constructed query letter. Instead, I focused on being authentic and telling my truth. I wanted to connect with readers through shared experiences that offered a sense of belonging and hope. Most importantly, I wanted the reader to feel like they were sitting down next to me, while I told them my story.

It's been six weeks since my book was released. I am blown a way by the amazing response and reviews it has garnished so far. It has surpassed my wildest expectations, resonating with all audiences and ages. The book has opened the door for me to appear on several morning shows and live-streamed events, as well as being featured in magazines.

It has also inspired me to continue to pursue opportunities that involve writing and impact speaking .

While the accolades are important for the success of the book, my personal triumph comes from the many people who have reached out to say how much they enjoyed reading it. How it made them laugh and how it made them cry. How the words on each page seemed familiar. How it seemed like I was sitting down next to them, detailing every incredible moment.

None of this would have been possible if I had not partnered with my higher power to use my gifts and talents in a way that was not only authentic to myself, but also helpful to others.

It took the world to stop - for me to start.

I will never allow the pursuit of my purpose or passion to be put on hold again.

My book, The Up Side Of Downs, is a narrative that revolves around my daughter, Marlee, who happens to have been born with Down syndrome. Don't get stuck on the diagnosis, that is not the storyline. It's a fun read that will have you laughing out loud and shedding some tears. The good kind of tears. Marlee is a loveable heroine who mischievously leads the book's cast of characters into hilarious predicaments the reader will not soon forget. It's an easy read with colorful dialogue and short vignettes. It's not about Down syndrome or parenting a child. It's a compilation of funny, touching stories which celebrates inclusion, community, family, and friends. Something we all need after a year of Covid.

The book is available on Amazon.

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