Looking Ahead, Looking Behind

I’m not a spiritual person or a person who can intuit the mystical significance of synchronicities, but when it comes to the publication date of my book, Bound: A Daughter, a Domme, and an End-of-Life Story, I’ve been happy to find as much symbolic meaning in the day as I can. 

I’d requested a publication date in early August because I wanted the book to be available in time for Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. That’s where I wanted to launch it into the world. When Brooke Warner told me the date would be August 13, I was happy to note that it shares the day with my grandson’s birthday. He’ll turn 17 on the day the book is officially born. It’s also the date nine years ago that my partner’s mother died. One entrance, one exit, one book about life and death. It seemed a kind of symbolic balance.

It turns out it’s even more than that. Just recently I reconnected with my 86-year-old great aunt, the sister of my father’s mother. I was a little nervous telling her about the book, but she was thrilled for me and wanted to know how she could order it. I told her it wouldn’t be available until August, and that I would happily send her a copy. She said, essentially, nonsense, that she would order it, and that she expected me to sign it when I next came to visit. The next day I got an email saying she’d ordered it, and telling me that my publication date is the same as my grandfather’s birthday and Nana’s birthday. She was referring to my father’s father, and to my father’s mother’s mother, my great grandmother. 

While I’m not a spiritual person, my great aunt is. About the coinciding of dates, she wrote, “Thought that kind of meant they wanted to be part of this wonderful achievement,” and “I feel quite sure that it was their way of reaching out to you.” 

I always thought of my grandfather, despite his irreverent and sometimes crass sense of humor, as being a pretty conservative person. He was conservative with his emotions as well as with his politics. We were not close, though I have no doubt that he loved me. I remember many conflicts between my paternal grandparents, and my mother, and I also remember being deeply affected by a talk he had with me when I was about 14, in which he clearly said, “I will always love you, but you have to earn my respect.” My teenage self heard so much judgment wrapped up in those words that the wedge already starting to separate us was driven in deeper. The idea that he’d want to be associated with this book would never have occurred to me. 

My Nana, on the other hand, I could almost imagine with a flogger in her hand. She was tough, mischievous, and never shied away from letting you know exactly what she thought or how she felt. She lived into her late 90s and I’ve always admired her forthrightness and her perseverance. I’m thrilled to share the day with her.

Anyway, all of that thinking about  that prompted me to find out who else had been born on that date. Wikipedia has a long list, including these three notable women: 

  • Lucy Stone, abolitionist, women’s rights advocate who dedicated her life to fighting for freedom and equality.
  • Annie Oakley (nee Phoebe Ann Mosey), famous for her shooting skills and performances with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, hardly common for women of her time.
  • Jocelyn Elders, former Surgeon General, famously fired for advocating that sexuality education include information about masturbation. 

Like I said, I’m not a spiritual person and I don’t know anything about mystical synchronicities. Regardless, knowing my family connections to August 13, and knowing that it’s the date of the birth of three unconventional women, I feel even better about launching my book, a story about a complicated and unconventional woman, her life, and her death, into the world.  Maybe there’s some mysticism in me, yet!

~~~

You can order Bound from your local independent bookstore or ask for it at your library. If you want to order online, check Indiebound to support independent bookstores, or of course you can order from Amazon.

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