Cry Purple

One woman's journey through homelessness, crack addiction, and prison, to blindness, motherhood, and happiness

Archive for January, 2013

First Book Signing!!

Posted by crypurple on January 31, 2013

Hi Guys!IMG_20130130_151435

How exciting! I returned from a trip to Kansas City, MO, where I did an  interview for a local  TV station (I will post more when I know its air date) and just as I walked in the back door  of my home, there was a knock on my front door.

I answered the door and it was FED EX!

IT was the arrival of my first box of 20 books!

Now, I wrote the book on the computer, but being blind and having a chance at last to open the box and touch a tangible product, the book I wrote, was amazing!   I was so totally thrilled!  I called my friends that live close and we all met next door where I enjoyed some yummy fried crappie and dinner rolls, and got to sell my first book!

I sold three, aIMG_20130130_151414ll of which I got to sign, and even better yet, these folks were eager to have a copy.  I can’t explain the excitement, and what made it even better was that people wanted to read the book!

So, I thought we would take photos of me signing my first book sale!  Now, many books have been purchased online by others, but there was a delay in the paper back books, so they went on sale later!

I am so excited.  It was so wonderful to touch my completed work, even if I can’t see the pages.

Okay, it is go time!  The goal is 3500 sales! Now that is a lot of books.

But here are the photos, as I wanted to share the joy with my followers!

Thanks guys and keep spreading the word!

Christine

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And so it begins…

Posted by crypurple on January 22, 2013

Hello everyone!

At last, the book, the cover, the mentions, and every tidbit is done.

As you know, the digital e-book is out on Amazon and Smashwords.  Go to my Buy The Book tab on this site and you can find information on how to purchase it for your PC or e-reader.  On January 25, you will be able to purchase your copy of Cry Purple in paper back form through me or by going to the Barnes and Noble website. People that buy the book through me will get a signed copy!

I thought I would share a little about the book, and the work put into it.

First about the book!

Cry Purple Cry-Purple-E-Book-Cover(3)

One woman’s journey through homelessness, crack addiction, and prison, to blindness, motherhood, and happiness.

I wrote the book, Cry Purple, to share what it was like to be homeless for nearly two decades, and to share the struggles to find my path once I left the streets. As I faced many life challenging events on and off the streets, I find myself today thankful to be alive. Although I have not yet found a pink cloud to float me through, and life still strikes me sometimes at lightening speeds, my hopes for sharing this journey are, to shine a different light of what it is like to live/ survive the streets.

I hope I clearly touch on the fact although you take the drugs/ addiction out of the equation, things don’t magically get better!

These are some of my challenges:

  • Readjusting, reconnecting, facing guilt and shame, re-learning to live, these are huge struggles that are not fixed overnight.
  • Facing judgment in things as simple as finding work, even though it has been many years since my felony convictions.
  • Being challenged with the private sector’s perceptions of what a blind person can or cannot do.
  • The daily struggles as a totally blind mom who has never seen the faces of her children.
  • Society’s often unknowing view and understanding of what is like to live on the streets, and the barriers that, although I have been off the streets a number of years,  will follow me for a life time.

I am aware that I made those choices, I made those mistakes, and I cannot take those back.  I can’t change the past.

What I can do is move forward, embracing each day, and educating the world around me, that people do change,  and when that change occurs, simple things like a job, a home, or even food for a drug felon, in the state of Missouri, are little things that empower us to keep doing the next right thing. They crack the door of hope that we, daily,  are moving closer to a normal life and the American Dream, and that we, too, can tap into the tools and opportunities  that our fellow humans in our great country are allowed!

I started writing notes on the book when I learned to type, which was after I had lost my sight, after my total blindness occurred.  I had never typed, or taken typing classes prior to that time of my life, although I do remember, as a youth, we had a typewriter in our house and I loved to click the keys on it!  However, I never mastered that, other than maybe finger pecking my name!  I guess learning to type blind took the peeking out of typing class!  So, for 5 years, I typed little lines here and little notes there, of things I remembered – some pretty, some not so much, some things I still struggle with.  I had hundreds of pages of stuff: many incomplete thoughts, or pages of rants, of emotional, things that made me sad.

Then, I had to choose which of these stories would be able to be shared without causing harm to others.  Being mindful of those in the book was huge to me.  I also had to think about how, although my book shares a lot of stuff, there are still many things that are painful to me and are not shared.   Some things are painful to others as well, and thus I chose to leave those things out, as well.  I think that, for me,  those thoughtful  things that are not mentioned, so as to not open old wounds, are a huge growing experience because for a long time in my life, I didn’t care who I harmed, or how I harmed them. And believe me, that list is long.

So if, by chance, you might be one of those people, and wonder why there is nothing about you, I promise it is out of true care and concern for how it would affect you, as my book’s intent is to cause no harm.

When I lost my job, I chose to weed through a lot of this junk, toss some out, or put it in a file on the computer titled: Junk I don’t want to use in the book, but might find use for later.  Then I created another file that was titled: Stuff for the book.  Reading through each line, using my  adaptive technology – a computer screen reading software program called JAWS,  or Jobs Access With Speech, I would copy and paste a line here and a line there or a page here and a page there to  separate documents for one  of my two files!  Then once I had completed that task, I had to go back, and complete the story, toning down thoughts, or expanding on the event.

So this has been a 5 year process for me that has at last come to pass! Believe it or not, I have enough of other things to write yet another book! I will first see what comes of this first book.  Who knows, maybe my writing will suck!

Once I was ready to go, I hired an editor to clean it all up. I broke things down in chapters and stories, and we worked together as a team to make sure each story was clear to not only someone   who knew of addiction and those life styles, but also to those that might not have a clue about some of the terms and slang words I had used.   I had to make sure that from church woman to inmate, the story was understood!

That brought many changes, as I would read and re read, changing words, adding phrases that might expand on a word, and then I toned the story down so the stories painted a clear picture of the events as they happened, but were not offensive to the reader.

I had a dear friend, who was my test proctor in college.   She and I stayed in touch, and became the best of friends.  I trusted her nonjudgmental perspective of the stories I wrote, as some were uncomfortable to read, to proof them to send off to my editor.

Some stories were edited a number of times, by a number of people outside my hired editor,  to ensure that  the story and emotion I wanted to convey was achieved, and to clearly express what I was telling in the story.

Those tasks were hard on all of us.

Then, at last, the book covers!

Although I am blind, I had a vision that I wanted to paint.   I wanted the book cover to be symbolic of the pages inside its cover and fulfilling that desire was difficult. I knew what I wanted, but had to lean on the sighted to tweak it out to what I wanted to achieve. Once again, I relied on my friend’s judgment.  Through many trials, we finally designed a book cover that illustrated my vision, but it was certainly not an easy task for her or the couple with the editing and publishing company that I hired for the job.

At last, it was done, and although I have no eyeballs, if it is as beautiful as I picture it in my mind’s eye, then our hours of hard work were worth it.

I know I’ll never see the book cover and the picture I hope it tells, but I am sure it is lovely!

I have to say thanks to one very special friend, Malcolm Garcia.  I first met Malcolm as a beat reporter for the KC star.  He wrote a series of stories of me about when I first left the streets, and my fight to see.  He encouraged me to write this book – he believed I had a story to tell.

I guess you the public will be the ones to determine that.  You can let me know on the blog!

As you know or might not know, I have been seeking work for a while, turned down sometimes due to the blind thing, and sometimes because of the 9 felony convictions on my background. In my struggle to just find work, I chose to write this book and put it in print to help me and Ricky purchase a small trailer that has a fenced yard, so I hope you will spread the word.  Tell your friends, post the website on your face book time lines, and walls, as we hope to sell 3500 books!

After the book goes for sale, I will start a page on the site that posts how many donations I have gotten on the Ways To Get Involved page, and how many books have been sold.   I hope this book is also a tool to allow my experiences to help us reach our goal – a job, and our idea of the American dream!  Buying a paperback from me, as opposed to buying it online, allows you to contribute double the amount that I would make if you bought it online.  So if you want to buy a book that will allow us to get to our goal faster, buy the paperback from me directly.  If you don’t want to buy the book, but want to donate to our cause, got to my Ways To Get Involved tab on this site and you may do so there.  I make just over 3 bucks on each book sale, so a 5 dollar donation on the Ways To Get Involved page is like selling 2 books!

My hopes is that this book will open some people’s eyes, let others that are living the life I led see that  they are not alone, and be an encouragement to people that want to get out of their rut and move forward with their life.  And maybe this book might educate people on some things that they might not have thought of.

Gosh if you read all this, then you are indeed my hero!

I hope you will spread the word, I also hope you will return to the site, and let me know how the book made you feel, or what thoughts or questions might have surfaced in reading it.

Enjoy your day! May you enjoy, embrace and journey through each day, we can’t change our past, however, we can strive through each day doing the next right thing!

Christine

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Exciting News!!!

Posted by crypurple on January 20, 2013

Cry-Purple-E-Book-Cover(3)

Hello Readers!
My editor and her husband are in the final stages of editing my book and have informed me that Cry Purple will be ready for purchase next Friday, January 25th! Stay tuned for links to the digital and print versions.

Christine

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The Book Cover Has Been Chosen!

Posted by crypurple on January 14, 2013

Cry-Purple-E-Book-Cover(3)

Hello readers!

The book cover has, at last, been chosen, with the kind and caring help from  my editor and her husband.  I thank them for all the extra time they spent to ensure that I, as a blind person, was totally happy with the end result  of the book cover.

The ensured that every last detail was met to my liking and was what I had envisioned in my mind’s eye for my book project!

Thanks also to Christy, my dear friend, for helping in this, so I could express what I was looking for regarding the colors and symbolic importance of the cover to the story inside the  pages!

Now to format the pages inside the book!

If all goes well, on  January 20th everyone can purchase their own copy of my book, Cry Purple.

Stay tuned for updates!

Visit the web site to like our face book page, if you have not done so already!

Christine

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It’s In The Valleys I Grow

Posted by crypurple on January 12, 2013

Hello again!

My little guy made honor roll again!  I am so proud of him – God truly gave me a wonderful little person to care for and parent!

He brings so much joy to my life!

Today, I  was blessed to speak in front of a group of addicts at a St.  Louis treatment Center.  I love being asked to do this.  Upon my return,  however,  I always reflect back to my time out there on the streets, in addiction…remembering the hopeless,darkened pits of time in which I lived.

Some of my favorite folks are those addicts from the streets and I have so much hope for each and everyone of them.

My prayers are that they will hope and believe in themselves from within.

I see addiction has not changed.  It is still taking lives  and stealing the  joy of my fellow human beings.

I am so thankful for the valleys of darkness in which I have walked – they helped mold and shape me.

I can’t change my past, but I can change my tomorrow.

It does not mean I have forgotten the wrongs of my past.   It means I have to let go of the guilt and shame in order to heal and move forward, and some where along my path of life,  I pray I have chances to make amends with those whom I have harmed.

Below I am including a poem, written by Jane Eggleston, that I love, and find much truth in I hope you enjoy it as much  as I do!

It’s In The Valleys I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,iris-white-and-purple_w544_h725
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.
My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!

All for now,

Christine!

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Happy New Year!

Posted by crypurple on January 5, 2013

Happy New year!

I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday  season, and that the new year brings you good things.

Ricky and I enjoyed our little Christmas with each other.  I love the way he opened  gifts and said, “Here, mom want to see?”  Then, he placed the item in my hands, showing me where the buttons were and what they did.

He got the book Green Eggs and Ham and read it to me at least a dozen times.

Our blessing for the new year was an overnight with his  biological sister, Mary Christine.  What fun! Her adoptive parents are so wonderful in sharing her life with us!

As always, Ricky and Mary Christine played together like they had never spent a day apart! We stayed up late  watching Christmas shows, all camping out  in her bed room.

I am often sad  when we leave her  but it is amazing to get to have overnights, and that Ricky and she are allowed to have such a wonderful relationship. Some folks don’t understand adoption that can be a need for a number of reasons, but a open adoption – what a concept.

 I believe, however, it allows for healing for the birth mom and it builds the esteem of the adopted child because that child will never have to   go searching for answers, with regard to his/her birth parents .  Our daughter has her adoptive parents,  her birth parents, and biological sibling, Ricky, always in her life, to answer her and support her through her life.

As I had planned to parent her my daughter Mary Christine, she knows me as the mommy that grew her in my tummy! When we have visitors in our home and they ask of the girl in the photos on the wall, Ricky is quick to say that is my sister!

It is complicated to the outsider for sure, but sometimes life happens, things we have no control of, and the outcome  we had planned for is not the outcome we get.

Life happens, that is for sure.  However, we do have control  of how we  react to the life’s rocks, or even boulders, that life sometimes  hurtles our way.

We have the power to react in a negative or a positive way – that we do have control of.

For many years, I reacted negatively to life – any piece of it.  Now, I feel it is growth that I embrace life’s challenges and seek to respond to them and not react to them,  responding  in the most positive thoughtful ways.

This new year, I  choose to  experience life as a journey, finding a adventure in each  new day!

The book I wrote about my journey through addiction to life today. Cry Purple, will be released this month!

I hope you will invite others to read our story and follow our blog.  We also have a facebook page!  You can like it from this page.

I wish you the best New Year ever and invite you to embrace life’s hurdles as growing experiences,  to respond and not react! Seeing each new day as a journey – anadventure yet to be had!

Christine!

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