The Story-Behind-the-Story of
Glory! to the Flowers
Glory! to the Flowers blossomed in my mind in the Sierra Nevada Mountains many summers ago, moments after 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 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 my intention.
Home in Maine, Glory! bloomed forth fairly easily. Soon after I finIshed writing, 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, Heartsong Books, and wanted to move my books into the world in ways that expressed Heartsong Books' kinship vision..
I found a wonderful illustrator, though right from the first we experienced logistical challenges.
Around this time, a teacher called me from a middle school located 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 Cara would want to work with me. It was important she feel a connection.
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, Me? Flowered skirt, flowing shirt, long hair and no makeup. Despite the differences in our appearance, we were a match.
We decided, with full support of Cara’s 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.
Meanwhile, Glory's illustrator and I amicably parted company. As with Roots of Peace, again I was without. I raised my eyes to heaven, wondering when another illustrator would appear. Yet the more I saw Cara at work with her colors and her free and easy, but distinctive, style, the more I realized my illustrator had been with me all along.
"Rad! Cool!" said this young wonder when I asked if she’d like to illustrate Glory!.
So began a dance between us—creative and smooth and joyful. I paid Cara good money to illustrate. 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 steered the artwork course we 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 troubles struck—twice—during the printing process. Glory! was months late making its way into our hands. Cara was supportive during this "slow" time even though we’d dreamed of the book coming out in early spring.
Looking back, I hardly remember the printing constraints. More important was my friendship with Cara. Certainly, she was a model for others. It was Cara's hope that all young people be ". . . totally fearless and true to themselves doing what they love to do."
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