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My latest book, Hope on the Inside, is released today.
Though this is my fifteenth time at this particular rodeo, celebrating a book birthday is always exciting, the culmination of at least a year of work. It’s true. Back when I did that sort of thing, it took me less time to gestate a tiny human than it takes me to birth a book.
As with my real children, none of my literary offspring can claim the status of favorite child. Every novel I’ve penned holds a special place in my heart; they’re all my favorites.
But I feel like there’s something extra special about Hope on the Inside. Perhaps it has something to do with my particular stage of life. Perhaps it has something to do with the times we’re living in.
HOPE ON THE INSIDE
The title of the book is something of a play on words. Hope is not only the name of my principal character, it’s a quality she brings with her as she begins teaching crafting and quilting to women in a state correctional facility. Standing at a crossroads in her own life, Hope doesn’t always get it right. She falters more than once and sometimes gets things spectacularly wrong. But she tries. And she cares. Others see this and so her name suits her.
I won’t get any deeper into the plot than that today. I do think it’s a story you’ll enjoy and naturally I would love it if you’d read the book. But I’ve got more than commerce on my mind right now. Today my thoughts are centered on hope, something we all need but which so often seems to be in short supply.
Happily Ever After
A few years back, I wrote an article titled “The Case for a Happy Ending” for Publishers Weekly magazine. My premise was this: in spite of the complexities of our post-modern age, and perhaps indeed because of it, the world needs books with happy endings. “In a world devoid of hope, what intelligent being would attempt to tackle the seemingly insurmountable problems of our age?”
In short, hope is something that everyone needs. When days seem dark, and odds seem insurmountable, and the world seems bankrupt, we bank on hope. We have to. Hope is the thing that keeps us going when times are tough. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. It is essential to human existence, right up there with food, and water, and oxygen.
As I was writing this book, a short but powerful directive kept popping into my head: share hope.
When I write my books, stories of women experiencing crossroads, conflict, and crisis, I end them happily. Always. That’s how I share hope with a world that is desperately in need of it.
But as I penned Hope Carpenter’s story, I kept thinking about all the other ways, large and small, that people share hope. Some people share hope through the work they do, or the time they spend volunteering, or by donating money or goods to worthy causes. Those are all wonderful ways to share hope with others.
But sharing hope can also be as simple as speaking words of encouragement, comfort, or affirmation to someone in need of it.
SHARING HOPE WITH WORDS
You might remember a post I wrote a while back about reviving the lost art of letter writing. In it, I explained that letters are a wonderful way, maybe even the best possible way, to let someone know you care.
When we share hope and encouragement with others through the written word, we’re sharing something tangible, something that people can actually hold in their hands as well as their hearts, and refer to again and again in moments of need.
There’s a file in my office, filled with letters of hope that I’ve kept through the years. Some came from family and close friends, some came from readers who I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting face to face. Some of those letters are long, rambling, and descriptive. Others are short and pithy, only a couple of sentences long. But, long or short, I treasure them. When I get down and discouraged, when I doubt my talent and purpose, when despair about the hopeless state of the world and my poor place in it lays me flat, I read those letters. Doing so renews my strength. It helps me get up from the floor, roll up my mat, and keep walking.
With that in mind, I decided to celebrate this book birthday by encouraging others to “share hope” with people they know.
Readers who attend my upcoming Hope on the Inside book tour events, or participate in my Virtual Book Launch Party, will receive a small gift from me to help them do exactly that. But I also wanted to give another “share hope” gift to all of my readers, in hopes that the message will spread.
So, here it is. My book birthday gift to you, an easy but potentially meaningful way for you to share hope with someone else.
Fill in your email at the bottom of this page, and I’ll send you this card. (Well, not this card. A card like this that you can decorate yourself.) Hopefully, it’s existence in your inbox might will give the a nudge to write to someone who is a little low on hope.
Print it out on your computer. (Regular paper will work just fine but if you’ve got some slightly heavier paper or cardstock, that would be extra nice. I bought some scrapbook paper from the craft store and it worked really well.) Use pencils, or crayons, or markers, or paint to turn your card into a one-of-a-kind little piece of art. Write a note to someone you care about who is going through a hard time. Share words of encouragement, comfort, and affirmation. Tell them about all the good you see in them, the unique qualities and gifts that make them special.
Note: when I travel (as I am right now) I scroll social media far more than I do regularly. (You know how it is, you have 5 minutes standing in line at the hotel. Or 10 minutes waiting for the Uber to pick you.) So I would love to know how you’ve taken the opportunity to #sharehope with others. Here’s how you can do that!
- (1) take a picture of YOUR decorated Hope On The Inside stationary and
- (2) post it on your social media and tag Fierce Beyond 50 or Marie Bostwick
- AND use the hashtag #sharehope in your post and I’ll share them!}
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could #sharehope with scores, with hundreds, with thousands of people who would cherish a few words of hope and encouragement? Yes. I think so too. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this book birthday.
So, let’s do it! Let’s #sharehope!