Don’t Say Anything to Anybody, a true story about growing up in Nazi Germany, is almost here. The book is heading to press within the next two weeks. That’s what matters right? It is, and yet there are some major challenges we’ve been dealing with that have cast long shadows across this season.
Both my coauthor, Brigitte Yearman, and I have been slogging through a gauntlet of life-or-death health issues for some of our closest loved ones. In short, we’ve birthed this book while staring down mortality. Those loved ones are still with us, and we live in gratitude for every moment with them. But the past six months have been excruciating.
In the midst, here is the book—and all the tenacity, willfulness, and stubborn hope that it represents. The synchronicity is disturbing. Here’s a quick snapshot of how these dual realities played out in the day-to-day….
In the final pre-press editing rounds, you wind up re-reading the entire book. One day this spring, I was hanging out in a cancer clinic during a friend’s six-hour chemo drip—a harsh treatment to fight an extremely rare and aggressive metastasized cancer. Talk about a long day. My friend fell asleep, and I took out Brigitte’s manuscript to review the latest batch of edits. I read this passage from the post-war reconstruction years:
Winter was not forever. Grass grew in rough patches, bursts of tenacious green among Elmschenhagen’s stone grays and sooty reds. After school one day, I saw Frau Müller digging in the dirt in front of our building.
“What are you doing?”
“I think we need a garden, Brigittchen,” she said. “Would you like to help?”
Would I ever. Frau Müller had saved flower seeds from before the war. She had not planted anything the year before. Who could think of gardens the spring after that worst of winters? But in the spring of 1947, she decided it was time. She showed me the seeds in folded paper packets. She’d scrawled the names of the plants on each one. “I am not sure they will sprout,” she said. “But we must plant them to find out.”
I often say to my friends, “Planting a garden is an act of faith.” That’s where we’re at with the book now. After six years of interviewing, fact-checking, writing, revising, editing, revising again, partnering with an agent, partnering with an international base of Kickstarter supporters…it’s ready. Ready to broadcast to all of you and then see what grows out of these seeds.
You get to be our fellow farmers now, cultivating and sharing this story with your friends. Thank you in advance for that effort and enthusiasm! Thank you not only for the financial support, but also for the calls, notes, prayers, and general good vibes during what has become an intensely trying time. We are forever grateful!
Oh, and since some of you have asked… If you’re not keen on email, cards to Brigitte may be sent to:
Spiritus Creative, LLC
Memoir Projects: Brigitte Yearman
PO Box 1048
Bozeman, MT 59771