If your family is anything like mine, there are always a few books exchanged during the holidays. This year I invite you to consider giving a book that is beautiful both in words and intentions.
My sister, who is a writer turned college professor turned editor has a strong love affair with Emily Dickinson; so strong, in fact, that she has a quote from one of her poems tattooed on her arm. Her face looks completely different when she talks about Emily Dickinson’s poetry - as though she feels for the first time (every time) like someone lived in this world who truly understood how she feels, and they wrote those feelings down.
I never really understood that connection to poetry. As any successful liberal arts grad will do, I studied the cannon poets during college, but I never really got poetry. The poems we read didn’t evoke emotion in me and I didn’t relate to what they were saying or the experiences they had lived. In fact, even though I loved the story of the love affair between Elizabeth and Robert Browning, I read their love letters/poems over and over and never felt the passion and intensity I longed for. All of this changed when someone sent me a Facebook status from a site called “I am her tribe.”
I couldn’t tell you today what that status was, but I remember lying in my bed reading it and thinking, “Yes. That is how I feel. And someone else feels that way too.” I was going through one of the hardest times in my life - driving around with my divorce papers in my car and somehow unable to mail them in. I lay in bed at night wondering how it had all gone so wrong and how I had made so many wrong decisions. I longed for connection and love and a romance to light up the ages.
As soon as my friend sent me that one status, I began obsessively reading everything Danielle Doby had ever posted. I tagged friends here and there and saved a number of them to my camera roll so I could see them later. That year was a very lonely one for me for a number of reasons - and reading the beautiful poetry of Danielle became one of my greatest sources of comfort.
I started following her on Instagram too and saw that she was doing something else amazing - the #iamher campaign. She was sharing photos of these beautiful people - men and women - holding signs that said #iamher or #iamhe and writing beautiful and healing words about the journey they were on. Talk about feeling connected to something larger than yourself - I truly felt like I was finding my tribe and finding my way.
And so this year, when Danielle announced that she had gotten a book deal and would be publishing some of her poetry, my heart stopped. Yes, part of it was because I was so excited to be able to hold her words in my hands and read them over and over. Yes, part of it was because I knew I would purchase this book for friends and soul sisters and pray it loves them the way I do. But also because I was elated that someone who had started on this journey of simply sharing her words in order to help people heal and love and grow and wait and change and be - this person was going to get to sell her words in a book! It seemed to me the perfect storybook ending.
I was on one of the earliest presale lists and received my book the day they became available - October 23rd of this year. It’s the only book I have ever read cover to cover in a matter of hours. Every page felt like a love letter from a familiar friend. As I neared the end, I thought to myself, “This is the great love affair I was dreaming of. It is a love affair with all the parts of myself. And i am her tribe. She is my people. All of my hopes and joys as well as my sorrows and fears lie in my own soul and body and they are perfectly captured in this book.”
And so I hope that you will consider ordering this book for that lady or girl in your life that you want to gift with the gift of true love - love for her soul.