The Story-Behind-the-Story of
Glory! to the Flowers
|The inspiration for Glory! to the Flowers blossomed in my mind in the Sierra Nevada Mountains summers ago, seconds after I finished watching a remarkable video I'd been invited to see. I'd gone to California to be part of a flower essence intensive. The video, Messenger of Beauty, was shown toward the end of the conference. It included book excerpts and paintings from the work and life of Russian-born Nicholas Roerich, a gifted, multi-faceted man devoted to goodness and truth and beauty and the perpetuation of culture.
Watching the video, I sensed I would be writing a book for children (of all ages) that celebrated flowers and the work of Edward Bach, flower essence pioneer. I also knew that I wanted the word Glory! in the title of this book, and that I wanted to write an extensive, lyrical, simple-to-understand author's note about Bach and essences and flowers. That was the extent of the inspiration.
Home in Maine, sometime later, I wrote Glory! which bloomed forth fairly easily. Soon after, I set about to find an illustrator. As with Roots of Peace, Seeds of Hope, I wanted all aspects of creating the book to occur as locally as possible. After ten books published in New York and elsewhere I'd founded my own publishing company so I could move my books into the world in ways that were an expression of Heartsong Books' kinship vison.
I did find an illustrator, a wonderful one, though right from the first, we began to experience some logistical challenges.
Around this time, a teacher called me from a middle school in the next town over. She asked if I would be a mentor to Cara Raymaker, a fourteen-year-old who had outgrown the capacities of the school's gifted program. Had Cara read any of my books, I asked, and I sent some over. I did not want to assume, automatically, that Cara would want to work with me. It was important she felt some connection with what I was doing and who I was.
After reading my books, Cara wanted to meet. We did this one afternoon in a cubicle in her school— Cara in black leather jacket, ears dripping earrings, face smooth and pale, lips dark, hair pointed upright in various places, I in flowered skirt and long hair and no makeup. Despite the differences in our appearance, we clicked!
We decided mutually with full support of parents and teachers that Cara would come to my cabin in the woods once a month where we would play music, eat good food and write and draw and walk and learn from each other.
In the meantime, Glory's illustrator and I amicably parted company. As with Roots of Peace, again I was missing an illustrator. I raised my eyes to heaven and wondered when another would appear. But there she had been all along, or so I saw when I began to see Cara at work with her colors in her free and easy, but distinctive, style.
"Would you like to illustrate Glory!?" I asked her one Saturday, for I'd read Glory! to Cara and knew she was fond of it. "Rad! Cool!" said this young wonder.
And so began a dance between us—creative and smooth and joyful. I paid Cara good money to do the book. She was worth it. As I said in my Glory! bio, "Every book I write is born with all art vividly ablaze in my mind's eye. Cara has understood this and welcomed input. . . With unflagging momentum, she's steered the artwork course we've plotted—this, exquisite evidence of her bedrock confidence. No one, of any age, could have been more consistently responsible or encouraging."
These qualities were essential when disasters struck during the printing process. Glory! was nine months late making its way into our hands. Cara was supportive during this "slow' time even though she'd dreamed of the book coming out before the first snowfall!
Looking back, I hardly remember the printing constraints. More important is my friendship with Cara. Certainly, she is a model for others. It's Cara's hope that all young people might be ". . . totally fearless and true to themselves doing what they love to do."
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