“Her little sister is so lucky,” says my 10-year-old daughter, earlier this evening, as I was explaining one of Sable Books’ latest releases to our beloved piano teacher. As I got home, I realized I hadn’t shared it with all of you.
Letters for my Little Sister began as a real letter — one that Cecilia Gunther had begun to write to her younger sister as a way to help with navigating the journey of aging and menopause. Their mother had died when they were young, you see, and there had been no one to really turn to to ask questions about this stage of their lives, and while Cecilia had been old enough to have observed their mother some, the memories were scarce. And there was really no one else around to give them this very personal advice.
She realized the taboo and silence around the subject of menopause, (“even typing the word makes me cringe,” she once wrote to me) and she was struck with inspiration midway through: What if she could open up this subject, ask other women to contribute their stories and experiences, and bring light and warmth to a subject many fear talking or asking about.
And as it happened, Celi had been blogging on WordPress for some time about life on her sustainable farm, and a community of women and men had gathered round her stories and photographs, and they’d all gotten to know each other and formed a wonderful virtual gathering of souls that Celi collectively called The Fellowship. And the idea struck her.
What if she asked them for their advice, their letters? And put it all together?
And so a book was born.
She quickly contacted me with her idea, and I knew it was a project I had to work on — I am forty-four years old, on the threshold and in the midst of so many changes myself, personally and professionally, and this project just reached deeply into me in so many ways.
What a rich experience it was to be a part of. Women from around the world sent their letters, poems, and journal entries. Celi and I worked day and night compiling, tracking, and ordering, figuring out how to include every voice while taking care not to duplicate as well as not to leave anyone out. (I have the 300-some e-mails to prove it.)
I asked Celi if she wouldn’t mind if I invited women from my women’s writers’ group to contribute, and she generously and delightedly included us as well. So you’ll find the work of North Carolina writers Debra Kaufman, Sheryl Rider, and Leigh Olsen included as well.
If you’d like to order a copy of Letters, here’s where you can find the book on Amazon. Connect with her Facebook page and join the community of mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, and the conversation. The gorgeous cover design is by Danny Krawiec, my business partner at Sable Books, from a photograph taken by the very talented Kathryn Sparks.
Just off the wire: the books are here, and shipping, and selling fast, and there is already the question about how quickly we can get a second run. (!!!) Congratulations, Celi, on this beautiful book that started out as a dream.
And, yes. You really do have a very lucky little sister, indeed. — xoxo M.