This book is bargain priced from 05/06/2014 until 05/05/2029
A New York Times e-Book Best Seller, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one.
Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent – and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.
Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor’s life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya’s fate.
Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya’s organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya’s heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor’s traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called “heartbreaking and heart-healing,” Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one’s balance after unthinkable tragedy.
Targeted Age Group: 18 – 80
Book Price: 2.99
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How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Memoir requires a level of self-revelation that is akin to the oft-reported dream of showing up at an important meeting naked. The more vulnerable, and skillful the writer, the more she will engage her readers in the story. Writing Swimming with Maya required me to go all the way to the bottom of my grief and mine my own life story so that I could accurately portray the motivation of the characters, including the narrator. In the words of the writer Vivian Gornick, I had to create a “narrating persona” to lead the reader by the hand through a very traumatic, moving, and difficult situation – the death of my older daughter. I could not hide behind a fictionalized version of events.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Read good writers, especially those that stand the test of time, and stretch your heart and mind. Establish a regular writing practice and find or create a supportive writing group. Writers need readers so having a writing group that will give you honest feedback is essential to your development. Read deeply in your own genre, but also read outside it – poetry is especially helpful to the creative process. Hone your craft and learn about the business of writing. I took courses at Mills College, UC Berkeley extension, and local bookstores, as well as apprenticing myself to several accomplished writers over the years. Never, ever give up. It took me 10 years to write Swimming with Maya. It took my agent 5 years to sell the hardback rights. When my original publisher closed in 2010, I set out to find a new publisher and thankfully found Dream of Things and Mike O’Mary through my friend and fellow writer Madeline Sharples. Networking – both face to face and on social media – is vital to writers now. Connect with readers. Enjoy the process!
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This book provides an inspiring account of a single mother grappling to raise her children without inflicting the same kinds of wounds that were inflicted on the narrator as a child. It shows readers the practical steps I took and the tools I used to move beyond devastating grief to healing. Swimming with Maya offers moving testimony that it is possible not only to survive loss, but also to transcend it.
Readers will learn that loss, properly integrated, can lead to a profound shift in consciousness. The author shows readers that grief is actually love in action: the greater the love, the greater the grief. To be willing to grieve is to be willing to feel all the way to the bottom of our love for as long as it takes. For those who lose children, it may take a lifetime, but they will be transformed in the process. I wrote Swimming with Maya to inspire all parents to treasure and love their children and to give readers inside information about what it is like to be the mother of an organ donor who meets the recipient of the gift.
About the Author:
Eleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer whose debut memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, was nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and is a New York Times e-Book bestseller. She writes about love, loss, and grief recovery with a special focus on the challenges and joys of raising children at any age.
Called “engaging” by Booklist, Swimming with Maya chronicles the life and death of Eleanor’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Maya, who was thrown from a horse and pronounced brain-dead at the hospital. Eleanor donated her daughter’s organs to critically ill patients and poignantly describes her friendship with a middle-aged man who was the recipient of Maya’s heart.
Eleanor is a national spokesperson on grief recovery and organ donation, appearing on CNN and San Francisco’s Evening Magazine. She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and been interviewed on radio and television programs around the country.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, where she occasionally teaches writing workshops on creative nonfiction and memoir.
Her essays appear in the anthologies At the End of Life: True Stories about How we Die (edited by Lee Gutkind); This I Believe: On Motherhood; and Impact: An Anthology of Short Memoirs. They celebrate the unique and complicated bonds between mothers and daughters, making hard decisions as a parent – whether your child is 14 or 40 – and navigating midlife transitions with grace and authenticity.
She lives in Oakland, California.