As I was furiously writing my memoir, at times it would cross my mind what I was going to do with it when I was finished. What were the next steps in birthing a book? At my first writer’s retreat, I was told not to worry about those details but instead get it all on paper. I was obedient and wrote and wrote until I had reached 100,000 words. And then I stopped. I had gone as far as I could without specifically seeking a literary agent.
So, it was “done.” I now had a full-blown project and it was time to go to the place where I find all the answers and next steps. I know it may sound like I am talking about a mystical place, but it’s really just a white day bed full of pillows adorned with paisley, fake fur and brown and gold sparkles. Here is my throne, where I sit in front of a large picture window in my bedroom. Looking out the window you will see the towering redness of Cathedral Rock in Sedona against a backdrop of a blue sky or starry night. This is my temple, my altar, my launching pad where everything is catapulted into the world. My dreams, my plans, my hopes – they all begin here.
I held the only printed version of my manuscript in my hands. I closed my eyes and went to this very efficient place called the universe. Here, everything is possible. I asked the universe to bring me the right person to help me get my story out into the world, then I waited. The universe showed me a teddy bear. My rational mind popped in and said, “What the hell, you do not need a teddy bear. You need an agent.” I swatted the thought away to allow for whatever it was that I was about to receive. I have learned to trust the universe and when the universe gets my request, I know it will be working on it if I have no doubt. My request was now in the energetic pipeline of my life. I had rubbed the lamp and it was time for the genie to appear.
I had no vision of how a New York literary agent and book designer would show up in Sedona. Weeks passed and with my universal confidence still high, I opened my front door and Joost Elffers walked into my house. He had an aristocratic feel about him, but I could sense a child inside, desperate to burst out. He was well-traveled and curious. I liked that. As I looked down at his shoes, which were obviously handmade, I knew he had not come to Sedona to go hiking. In fact, he was the first person I met who felt odd to even be in Sedona. He was Dutch and it was as if he had stepped out of a time machine and was simply walking the world for an unintended adventure.
What makes Joost special is that he, like me, is open to a world of possibilities, no matter the distance from ordinary. When there are no boundaries or limitations on creativity, you have the ingredients for a genius.
I watched his bushy eyebrows as he told me about his books, his life, and how he spends his time creating things. I realized that he was and is a master of imagination. He had certainly peaked my imagination as he listened to me describe my memoir. Although his purpose of coming to Sedona was to meet some people about business, he left knowing that the reason for the visit was to meet me.
He read my book, and it wasn’t ready for primetime. It needed the eyes of a seasoned editor, he said. I winced, realizing that I had not finished the book. After nine months of rewriting the final version it emerged again. In the meantime, Joost was working on capturing the essence of the story on the book’s cover. This was done brilliantly as I put it into the hands of this literary alchemist. Lori: The Disintegration of My Ordinary Reality, was in the incubator.
After Joost, a brilliant editor appeared, then a well-connected publicist, a social marketing genius, and finally, a stylist. All of them arrived at just the right moment because I was willing to trust a process I knew nothing about. Everything simultaneously arrived. Come to think of it, since you are reading the article, welcome to my world – I guess I created you, too!
Almost a year after meeting Joost, I remembered the teddy bear that the universe had first showed me. I had to know how the Teddy Bear was connected to Joost in some way. I quickly googled ‘joost elffers teddy bear’ and there it was. The book, Teddy’s World, that Joost had co-authored and that I had never seen before. I smiled when I read his quote about the book, “A powerful icon, the teddy bear is a magical object indeed.”