“In preparation for landing, please check to see that your seatbelts are fastened, turn off all electronics, return your tray tables to their full, upright and locked positions, and store all carry-on luggage in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you…”
Our destination, Emilie Loring’s biography, is in sight.
All I meant to do was find out a little about my favorite author, Emilie Loring. And I did.
Then I found out a little more, and a little more after that. Pretty soon, I was traveling to Boston and Maine and Cape Cod, and my notes filled more and more notebooks.
I grew fascinated with her story and wanted to tell it. I didn’t know to whom yet; I was just having so much fun figuring out the real-live details in her fiction books and learning things I’d never imagined about her. Every time I found something new, I wanted to share it.
So I wrote, which I’ve always enjoyed doing, but it took me a number of tries to figure out that writing a biography was going to be a different kind of writing than I had done before. It’s a history and a story, but it’s not a linear tale; there were so many threads that had to be woven in to make it the real story of Emilie Loring. I worked at it.
I figured out a structure and a “voice” and began to dream of actually publishing this book. It contains stories that anyone might find interesting and that an Emilie Loring reader would love to know. I just needed to learn how to do that.
I joined BIO, the Biographers International Organization, and attended their conference.
To get published, I needed an agent. To get an agent, I needed to have a “platform”–a website, a blog, a social media presence… “If that’s what it takes, I’ll do it.” The Emilie Loring Collection was born.
Since then, I’ve had two jobs: write the biography and write the blog posts.
Research – Write – Edit. Repeat.
Sometimes, life intervenes. My children graduated from college and moved to opposite ends of the country. I married and met new friends and family in another state. My father died, and I retired from my thirty-year teaching career. These have been some big years, and there’s no slowing in sight.
There are now more than 200 blog posts on the website. Who ever guessed that would happen? As my husband keeps telling me, “That’s a book right there!” He’s right, but I was careful not to give away too much. By necessity, I had to do some trimming to fit five thousand pages of notes into a single book, and those “trimmings” became posts.
I didn’t know this part would be so fun. I hadn’t counted on meeting so many people who love Emilie Loring, history, nostalgia, and New England. I had no idea we would create a community. I count that as a “win” already.
But sound the trumpets! My original purpose has been accomplished:
Emilie Loring’s biography, Happy Landings, has been written from beginning to end.
Let that sink in. Some of you have followed my progress since the blog started in 2015. Others have been in my corner since my first research trip to Boston and Maine in 2004.
In 2005, when I had the first inklings of writing an actual biography, a very dear friend sent me a bottle of Tokaji Aszu wine, “the elixir of the gods,” to celebrate with when I finished. Not “if”… but when.
This week, we opened the bottle aboard a sailboat in Blue Hill Bay and raised a toast to Emilie Loring, to her grandchildren, to my friend, and to those aboard and far distant who have believed in this project and supported me in accomplishing it.
All of the steps and missteps, all of the times I had to put the project on hold and find the determination to begin again with gusto, have made reaching this milestone all the sweeter.
I’m enough like Emilie to insist that each page be as good as it can be, so there will be readings and edits and double-checks on references, formatting, and image quality. There’s an index to create and a cover to design. Those all sound like fun to me; I enjoy details, and you’ll hear more about these soon.
For now, though, let’s pause and celebrate this milestone. Emilie would be pleased.
“Now I am faring forth on vacation. When I return, just watch my yellow pencils smoke.” ~ Emilie Loring
Happy landings, everyone!