Riveting Expat Reads: When a Friend Fulfills a Widely-Shared Dream

Each of us harbors a dream, a fiercely held flame of hope and desire that burns quietly yet brightly deep within us.

It can be something we’d like to do or see or experience, someone we’ve always wanted to meet, somewhere we really want to visit. Or something we create.

Often we hold it as a secret. We don’t tend to share our dream with others for many reasons. We’re shy, nervous, embarrassed or intimidated. We’re afraid of failure. Or perhaps it’s simply because we’re intensely private.

But sometimes we choose to share our dream as a way to help us visualize our success in achieving it. We make ourselves accountable to others, believing that their knowledge of our dream will spur us on to completion.

When I wrote the title of this post, I consciously chose the phrase ‘widely-shared’ for two reasons.

First, earlier this year Jo Parfitt bravely announced publicly that she was writing a novel for publication this autumn. She put herself out there, on report.

Family, friends, fans, followers, readers all took note and the vigil began.

‘So, when is your novel being published?’

‘Is it done yet? Are you in the editing phase?

‘What’s the launch date? When can we buy it?’

She dutifully answered these and myriad other questions, and kept plugging away.

Second, writing a book is an extremely popular dream. As a publisher, author, writing consultant and mentor to many, Jo regularly mentions that many people wish to become an author. I’ve read of a survey in the US claiming 81% of Americans want to write a book, and I’m fairly confident the percentages carry over around much of the world. Yet she points out that something like only 2% of people actually do so.

Jo herself has already achieved that dream many times over. She’s written and published a whopping 27 books: non-fiction, how-to’s, even a book of beautiful, evocative poetry about expat life lived in distant lands.

But for many (dare I say most?) writers, penning a novel is considered the Holy Grail.

The need to conjure a plot that pulls you in, to include enough twists and turns to keep you turning the page, to develop well-rounded characters that you care about, to craft believable dialogue, to keep the pace moving appropriately and bring it all to creative resolution? Well, that takes talent and time and tenacity.

I should know. I’m working diligently  plodding along on a non-fiction book that I sincerely hope will be published in the coming months. It is important to me, it deserves my attention, so I’ve given it my commitment. That includes owning up to it here on this site.

Yet when I attend my twice monthly Writers’ Group? I usually bring a scene or chapter section from my novel. It’s in the very early stages, definitely a work in progress.

We’re talking only about 8,000 words written out of a likely 70,000-90,000.  Slow-going? Oh yeah. Big time.

So the other evening I was honored and thrilled to attend the Press/VIP book launch and reception for Jo’s wonderful new novel, Sunshine Soup (Summertime Publishing, also includes a pass-through link to Amazon.com in the US).

Standing there among others who love, respect and support Jo, I couldn’t help but be excited. There was a real energy in the room, a palpable buzz.

Jo Parfitt reading an excerpt from her newly published novel Sunshine Soup (Summertime Publishing)

Reading an excerpt from her newly published novel (and 28th book) in a roomful of writers, journalists, poets, authors and aspiring authors, Jo was realizing her dream.

To hear an author lovingly speak the very words that they have brought forth, words that likely have spent so much time in the fertile recesses of their creator’s mind? Simply put, it brings chills.

It’s that magical, that inspiring.

As she does on a daily basis, Jo Parfitt was also fueling the hopes and dreams of many, many others.

No matter how much time, effort, focus, passion and frustration it may take, count me in.



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