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Three of the Farther Along writers, Monica Sleap, Beth Baldwin and I,  spoke and shared the story of Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers at the dedication for a Little Free Library yesterday.

The event was sponsored by The Geist Institute for Women’s Words, whose aim is to “rescue women’s words from the footnotes of history and help women write their lives.”

IMG_2204 (2)The Little Free Library is housed in the breezeway at Muddy Creek Cafe in Bethania, NC and next to the Bethania mill shops in the old roller mill in the historic town of Bethania, NC. Both Shana and Patricia, owner of the restaurant and owner of the mill, have been supportive to the Farther Along book and to the mothers over the last few years. So it felt a little like home to be there yesterday.

Authors who have some connection to North Carolina shared readings or stories about their work during the afternoon. Julie Weber, director of Geist Institute for Women’s Words, translated a biography from German of Erdmuth Dorothea von Zinzendorf (and her life was the inspiration for the nonprofit that supports women’s words–Zinzendorf too had a North Carolina connection via Moravians).

Mona Ketner shared two of her books, a devotional for women in separation and divorce (a healing journey), a children’s book and her late stepmother’s book, Sharecropper’s Daughter. The latter is a memoir written just before her death, a story of persistence and healing for all of us. Leigh Somerville shared her trilogy of books beginning with It All Started with a Dog and her current project, writing a book about her father who died during the Korean War when she was an infant. Bonnie Doerr talked about the first two published books of a trilogy for young adults, Carol Roan shared the story of an anthology she edited of the work of writers over 50 (rescuing them from the footnotes of history) and Kelly B. Darmofal shared Lost in My Mind, her memoir that shares the story of her traumatic brain injury and recovery.

In the Little Free Library, donations of Carol Henderson’s Losing Malcolm, Nilla Childs’s Puzzled, Rhett Iseman Trull’s The Real Warnings and copies of the poetry journal she edits and publishes, Cave Wall, and many more can be found. The premise of Little Free Libraries is simple: take a book, return a book. You can take a book and return a different book or return the same one. Write a note in the journal included in the library box after you read the books to pass along a recommendation to others.

IMG_4313All of this is to celebrate our stories and our words. We did a good amount of that yesterday. For Farther Along, the stories we tell keep our children alive for us and others.

That’s been a saving grace in our almost thirteen years of writing together.