Some readers of Love You to Pieces will wonder why I didn’t include Beth Kephart, author of the award-winning and extremely poetic memoir A Slant of Sun, about being a new mom with an autistic son. This book is one of the first concerning parenting a disabled child that I read, and Kephart writes so beautifully, that each sentence was like a string of pearls.
Okay, here’s the answer: she turned me down. When I first came up with the idea of putting together of collection of literature on raising a child with special needs, I sent her a message asking if she’d be willing to contribute. She responded that she had moved beyond writing about her son’s special needs, and that they were no longer such an issue; he has learned to function in the world. It’s possible that she was giving me a gentle brush off. After all, she didn’t know who I was or what kind of a book I would ultimately come up with or who would publish it. If she had suggested that I excerpt her memoir, I probably would have, but I wanted to respect her wishes. By the way, if you haven’t read A Slant of Sun, you should.
I also contacted Bret Lott, whom I’d met a writer’s conference in South Carolina. We’d both contributed book reviews to Manoa, and we talked about that a little, so he had something to remember me by. At any rate, Bret wrote that my idea sounded like a good one, that he’d be happy to be a part of it, and that he was confident I’d find a publisher. This was all before Jewel, inspired by an aunt with Down syndrome, became an Oprah pick, but I feel quite sure that he would have said “yes” even after.