Today, I’ve very excited to have Connie May Fowler,
post here on Libby’s Library News.
Connie is the author of
HOW CLARISSA BURDEN LEARNED TO FLY
But first – I have to offer a HUGE apology to
Ms. Fowler and to Miriam, at Hachette.
This was supposed to be posted on April 12th,
but due to two family emergencies
(necessitating an unexpected trip to Florida last month
and to Alabama this month),
I failed in my commitment.
I am so very very sorry.
Now I will go sit quitely in a corner
and eat crow:-(
Please enjoy Connie May Fowlers Guest Post!
One very hot day, when I was in my garden hoeing weeds
—which is what I grow best—
out of the blue Oprah called and my life changed forever.
A series of bedazzlements ensued,
including a film based on my novel that she loved
(Before Women had Wings),
for which I wrote the screenplay.
I firmly believe that a person must
contribute in a positive way to the world,
otherwise what is the point of us being on this good earth?
I called the director of the local domestic violence
shelter and said,
“I’m going to start a building fun for Refuge House.”
My plan was to hold a benefit in conjunction with the airing of the film.
Quickly, I would learn some astonishing, sad facts.
Refuge House, located in Tallahassee,
Florida served eight north Florida counties
but had only three bedrooms.
Shelters across the country were experiencing every
kind of economic hardship imaginable even while they
were trying to service their clients and educate the public,
law enforcement, legislators, and the judiciary
about the complex issues attendant to family violence.
Obviously, my one fundraiser was not going to
offer a drop in the proverbial bucket.
So I began The Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation.
For seven years, we raised money for shelters nationwide,
helped build new shelters, gave down payments for new buildings,
established children’s libraries within the shelters,
ran medical clinics in shelter, and lobbied for better laws.
Every dime we made, we donated,
which—come to think of it—was not the brightest thing to do: a
ll volunteer all the time can be daunting.
And then my life changed again. I got divorced.
The experience left scars that I still tend to this day.
And I wasn’t writing. I had become a fulltime philanthropist.
Iloved the work—and remain deeply proud
of our accomplishments—but I had to be honest:
The time had come for me to be a writer again.
So I made the terribly difficult decision to close the foundation.
It had been my life’s work for nearly a decade.
Moving on did not feel liberating,
but as if I was walking away from my child.
So I worked hard to find a balance between social causes
that interest me and being a writer.
I continue to speak on issues such as literacy,
family violence, and the environment.
And I’m so happy that Libby, on the occasion of the publication of
How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly,
asked me to do this guest blog because it gives me the
opportunity to stand on my latest soapbox
and ask each of you to put books into the hands of children.
I urge you to buy everything from picture books to young adult novels
and donate them to your local domestic violence shelter.
The children in shelter have witnessed unspeakable acts of terror
committed by a parent they love.
They bear guilt that they could not stop the violence
and heal the battered parent.
Notions of safety and happiness—
notions many of us take for granted—
are skewed in children who come from this background.
We need to help them because, simply put, they deserve better.
And it’s so easy.
I am living proof that a child whose family is wracked with violence
can find her way out of the darkness one word,
one paragraph, one page, one book at a time.
Connie May Fowler, Author of How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly,
About the Book:
How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly
is the transcendent story of a young woman who,
in a twenty-four hour period,
journeys through startling moments of self-discovery
that lead her to a courageous and life-altering decision.
About the Author:
Connie May Fowler is an essayist, screenwriter, and novelist.
She is the author of five novels,
The Problem with Murmur Lee, and a memoir, When Katie Wakes.
In 1996, she published Before Women Had Wings,
which became a paperback bestseller and was made into
a successful Oprah Winfrey Presents movie.
She founded the Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation,
a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need.
Guest Post – Connie May Fowler / Author of HOW CLARISSA BURDEN LEARNED TO FLY