I have been humbled by the heart warming responses to the release of Barefoot and Before; writing such an ‘honest and open’ autobiography obviously left me open to criticism of the most personal persuasion (which I thoroughly explored and fully accepted prior to publication). Having already successfully toughened up the soles of my feet for my 52 mile barefoot run across Wales I was resigned to thickening up the rest of my skin in anticipation of any ‘fall out’.
It hasn’t happened. To the contrary; I did ‘phone a friend’ in a slightly sniffling state of overwhelm as a result of the kind and complimentary comments that continued to pour in. He commented astutely, “A little ironic that you only prepared for negativity and rejection, don’t you think?” It is after all the theme running (pun intended) through Barefoot and Before.
“I’m half way through your book. Now I see why we clicked xxx very similar lives and personalities, well done Lynne, incredibly well written, it has made me laugh and cry!!!”
“It’s just arrived, I thought I’d just flick through it before mowing the lawn and return to it this evening, but I was totally engrossed and read the lot straight away. It’s excellent, very raw and moving. I think you’ve balanced objectivity, emotion, your concern, sympathy and personal hurt here very well. Well done!”
“I’m only a quarter of the way through and I’m totally hooked.”
“Just wanted to let you know that I read Barefoot last night. It was very moving, I cried and laughed; our lives, our stories are very similar, I can’t begin to tell you, it’s uncanny!! My favourite mantra is also “It is what it is”!!! You are an amazing woman, and so inspiring. Thank-you for sharing a truly amazing life story.”
“Un-put-down-able – you rock special lady.”
And of course more reviews (ten 5 star reviews) can be read on Amazon.
Friends have given it to their friends, work colleagues, children and spouses – it appears to have a wide appeal, for which I am grateful of course. I’m grateful that it is resonating with so many people – all of whom are very diverse themselves. It seem that no matter how ‘alone’ in our thoughts or troubles we think we are, others are going through, or have been through very similar. That is why it’s good to talk – or write!
Yes, of course I have felt extremely vulnerable at times, having exposed far more than my feet! But the pay off has been that I have also revealed my total respect and reverence for nature and her animal Kingdom. Now people (who have read the book) understand what makes me tick and why I need my solitude and space. I don’t have time to do all the things I enjoy and spend time with people I like – so I am not going to waste any time doing things I don’t enjoy or being with people I don’t like. It’s not arrogance, it’s awareness.
I was thrilled to have the book featured in The Sunday Times last weekend but am a little more apprehensive about the promised write up in Wales on Sunday this week. The WoS journalist was far more interested in the human interest side of the story and in particular the gritty stuff. He pointedly asked about the relationship with my mother now – I non-committedly replied it was fine; as an adult I am able to reconcile and release issues from my past. I added that her inappropriate behaviour was as a result of an illness – bi polar – not her personality.
I doubt he will include that.
He also asked if I fear developing bi polar myself – I replied “Of course, it is something I have had to walk alongside every day of my life.”
I expect he’ll embellish that.
That is the nature of the beast that is journalism. I had the liberty of being far more objective and explanatory in the book than I do during a phone conversation. But I now know that in order to recognise light we have to know what dark looks like and am deeply grateful for the relentless lessons that have shepherded me to today. The pain fades but the learning remains. And that is why life is good.
Barefoot and Beyond is already being written and, not surprisingly, is being stuffed with new material every day as the ‘journey of discovery’ continues. As always I am grateful to all those who are super kind and supportive, emotionally and practically and above all to Nature who continues to offer unconditional respite from these busy days.
And (as is relevant for us all) it is worth remembering that the past simply describes how I got here – the future is up to me ….