I laughed, I cried, I REMEMBERED: ARC Review of I Remember Us by Jaime Dill

I Remember Us

The Short Review

I Remember Us is intensely personal, vulnerable, and relatable. I had really high hopes for this book, and it far surpassed my expectations. This collection of poetry, on the heels of Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem, has ignited in me not only a desire to READ poetry (I Remember Us is the first book of poetry I’ve successfully read cover-to-cover–and intend to reread), but also to WRITE it. The writing is magnificent, the story is unique to the author and her husband and yet universal; I see myself in these pages. I laughed, I cried, and I REMEMBERED. We see the young couple fall in love—that part’s easy, and fun, full of nostalgia. But then they hit the real world—money problems, unintended pregnancy, heartbreaking loss, fighting with each other—and they overcome. Jaime Dill shows us the beauty of growing and changing together, of loving each other through the changes. This book is a celebration of love, of how love triumphs. Ultimately, I did more than remember the past: I remembered the NOW, I remembered how unbelievably blessed I am to be in a marriage like the one reflected in the pages of I Remember Us.

Some extra commentary

I was fortunate to receive a free copy of this book via Booksprout, and the above paragraph is the review I left on Booksprout and Goodreads and will pop up on Amazon once it’s out. NOW, I need to gush a little more and tell you where to find Jaime and all the great things she’s been up to in addition to writing a fantastic book.

First – this book is SO GOOD that I asked for a paperback copy for my birthday (WHICH IS TODAY), even though I’ve already read it. I’m only sorry I didn’t think to ask for a signed copy… and I rarely reread books. That said, I reread about half of it the other day when I sat down to write my review so I’d say it’ll be nice to have a paper copy! Pre-order your copy here!

Second – Jaime is not only a gifted writer, but she’s a super sweet person and very giving of her time. I’m working my way through some feedback she gave me on some poems I wrote recently and I’m just so touched she took the time to give me such thorough, prodding feedback. Which brings me to…

Third – She’s a developmental editor and book coach! And if her feedback on my amateur poetry is any indication, Jaime is worth every penny! Check out her editing company, Polish and Pitch, for information on how to work with her and more!

Finally – Jaime is also Editor-in-Chief of her own publishing imprint, Cardigan Press. They’re releasing their first publication, an anthology for and by writers, later this year. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Free Book Alert! Right Back Where We Started by Fiona West

Do you all remember Fiona West? I interviewed her last year for the Indie Author Spotlight, and since then she’s hired me to copy edit several of her books (YAY!). The first one I did for her, Right Back Where We Started, is FREE right now on Amazon, but only until Friday. Go get yourself a copy and give it a read – and then, of course, go back for the rest of them. Next in the series, Just Getting Started (my favorite), releases next month and is available for pre-order now!

Right Back Where We Started – free until Friday, May 14!

Just Getting Started – Pre-order on Kindle now for only $.99!

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Am I a writer?

When I was a little kid I wrote ALL THE TIME. We had this old electric typewriter that used to be my Grandpa’s, and I’d lug it to my room, plug it in, and type away. I mostly remember writing plays, or screenplays that I planned to videotape (yes, I said videoTAPE) on my parents’ camcorder, starring my sisters, cousins, and me. I distinctly remember there was one screenplay I intended to film in my Grandma’s kitchen, and another in which I was an innkeeper with a modern kitchen disguised as an old-fashioned kitchen. I think there are probably some really awful videos, if anyone can access them, of us as kids filming our plays outside in the backyard. I KNOW there’s an awful one of me screaming at everyone in my parents’ basement that they ruined everything; I was a bit of a control freak and difficult to deal with.

I also wrote poems – not very good ones, and I only remember this gem, coauthored by my sister, Kayla:

If you ever meet a baby

who cries really loud

Then pick him up high

right up to the sky,

then drop him in the tub

and named him Bub.

C’mon, you all recognize real poetic genius here, right?

I turned all of my school paper assignments into creative writing stories. I don’t remember them, but I DO remember when I stopped: high school freshman English class, when we learned to write in MLA format. I remember crying about it (what do you mean I can’t use the word “I”?) and thinking my teacher was just the most awful teacher EVER; I’d even convinced my mom of it. Really, she taught me an incredibly important skill. But I very rarely had the opportunity to write creatively in school again, and I stopped doing it on my own time, too. Why? I don’t really remember.

I’ve known for a long time that I can write, and well (I’m so humble, aren’t I?). I wrote well in college, and in grad school one of my papers was used as part of the school’s reaccreditation process. I wrote analytic pieces for my job before I left to have kids. But I almost never enjoyed it. I did it because I had to. Then, in 2015 I started this blog on a whim. I still didn’t consider myself a writer. A book blogger, sure; but that was talking about others’ writing, not “actually writing” (whatever that’s supposed to mean).

A couple of months ago I saw a call for submissions to a new online literary magazine called Kindred Spirit, and for the first time I felt the urge to write – and I did it. I sat down and wrote to the prompt, a piece that I am pretty proud of but ultimately decided I’m not ready to share and didn’t submit. But the itch to write hasn’t gone away, it’s only gotten stronger. It’s perplexing, really – it feels a little uncomfortable and I’m pretty shy about it. So, I’m starting small. There’s a Twitter hashtag, #VSS365, that has a daily one-word prompt – you write a tweet-sized story using the word for the day and post it. I probably do it less than half the time, but it’s been so FUN. It’s like I feel a long-unused part of my brain slowly shaking off its cobwebs and sputtering to life. And the more I do it, the more I want to write — though I don’t know what or why, exactly. Maybe I’ll pop back in here and share some of my little #VSS365s…

I know to be a writer you don’t need to write every day. You don’t need to publish. You don’t even have to share anything you write with another person. And yet I feel hesitant to label myself “a writer.” It sounds so big and important, so much more than an unpublished piece from the heart and a few tweet-length stories or poems. But I’m feeling it out, trying to figure it out… Am I a writer?