Saying Good-Bye


I’ve been in this relationship for over 15 years. And I’m Saying Good-Bye.

We initially got acquainted fifteen years ago. But since January of 2014, we notched up 184 meetings of one sort or another.  It’s been a long and significant relationship, and I’m calling it quits, kissing it good-bye, moving on to other things. To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect this change of heart. It blind-sided me. Caught me completely off guard. But that’s exactly what happened.

Salem Book Club, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas

Two weeks ago, I did three book events in four days.

I spoke to 150 geography students, then to a small book club in south Fargo, then to the Retired Teachers Association of Moorhead. When I packed up my suitcase: mostly (unsold) books, pictures, maps, African cloth and knickknacks, my heart sank. I was tired of telling my own story, tired of hearing my own voice.

So Many Africas, Jill Kandel, Second Printing, Second Run, book, creative nonfiction, memoir

I went home and had a good long think and pulled up my records.

I’ve done 184 events: meetings, blogs, Q&As, interviews, radio programs, TV programs, newspaper articles about my first book, So Many Africas. It’s been a grand run. My book won two awards. It sold out its first run and went to a second printing. It got some great reviews and has an almost 5 star rating on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m not complaining. But I did come to the conclusion, it’s time to stop. So here I am, Saying Good-Bye.

I had one speaking engagement left on my calendar set for six months from now, and I emailed them a kind letter that I wouldn’t be coming. The next day a book club emailed, they’d love to have me come speak about my book. I said thank you but no. I sent them a link to my book page that includes maps, photos, activities, a book trailer and discussion questions. I said, “I’m focusing on my next book.”

This has been such a tumultuous and unexpected turn in my life.

I don’t know if every author comes to the point where they says, “I’m finished. I’m done. Let’s move on.” But that’s where I’m at. I’m kissing my first book good-bye.

kiss goodbye

I’d like my book to know I’m not abandoning her. I’d like her to know, I’m not writing her off in a mean sort of way.

If I could talk to her I’d say, “You taught me so much! You made me an author. I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and done and for all the fine people I’ve met because of you. But honey, it’s time to move on. So I’m kissing you good-bye and wishing you a fine life. And I want you to know you’ve been very good to me.”

I didn’t anticipate this move, but I don’t regret it either.

The day after I said good-bye, I woke up with my heart singing. I’m writing new things and am frankly quite joyful to be moving on. So. That’s that. My book is still for sale. Maybe something amazing will happen with it. Who knows. But I want to let it live out its own life. Without me holding its hand.

BR Jill Kandel Publishing Book travel So Many Africas

I won’t be packing up my suitcase with So Many Africas and cloths and photos … instead …

I’m going to be packing it up for a research trip to the Netherlands where I’m hoping to tie up all the loose ends of my second book and get it finished. So here’s to endings and beginnings and research trips and new things just around the corner.

Here’s to saying, “No” in order to say, “Yes.” 

Jill Kandel
  • Cam Leedahl
    Posted at 10:00h, 24 May Reply

    Thanks for giving us a window into your “life” with your book, So Many Africas. I am excited to hear of your continuing journey with your new book, and hope that your trip to the Netherlands will be very productive.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 11:47h, 24 May Reply

      Thank you, Cam. I feel like there is so much to learn and I’m still on the journey! Yes, I’m hoping the trip will answer some questions.

  • Heather MacLaren Johnson
    Posted at 10:30h, 24 May Reply

    Jill! Your decision is courageous and wise, I love how you let the Spirit guide you. I love the tender way you told your book goodbye in this post. You are a beautiful, gifted writer! I am excited to hear what your trip to the Netherlands grows in you!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 11:48h, 24 May Reply

      Hi Heather, Thank you! I’m sure I’ll be blogging on what I’m learning and seeing. And you … off to Alaska!! I was really happy to hear that you are going. I WANT to read your book!!

  • Kim Larson
    Posted at 10:45h, 24 May Reply

    Well said, Jill. You’ve given so generously of your time to others. We will be anxiously awaiting the fruit of your next labor of love.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 11:49h, 24 May Reply

      Thank you, Kim. It wouldn’t be anything without all of the readers. So, thank you, too.

  • Margie Witt
    Posted at 11:23h, 24 May Reply

    I know this must have been a heavy decision. I’m so glad I met you at the Story Circle conference and got my signed copy of your wonderful book. Wishing you the best for the future and looking forward to your next book.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 11:50h, 24 May Reply

      Thanks, Marie. It was fun meeting you, too. I enjoyed SCN. Always a joy to meet other writers.

  • Kim Edvenson
    Posted at 11:31h, 24 May Reply

    Thanks Jill for generously sharing your heart with others!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 11:51h, 24 May Reply

      You’re welcome, Kim. The sharing is mutual. I feel like often people who read my book, and the clubs and events I’ve attended, have also been a blessing in my life.

  • Jan VanKooten
    Posted at 12:47h, 24 May Reply

    Having read and enjoyed this touching post, I support and affirm your decision. It feels wise and right. Blessings on you as you move on to a new, exciting phase of author life!

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 16:28h, 24 May Reply

      Thank you for these words, Jan. It’s been an affirming blog post. I appreciate that. Also, yes, another new phase. Huzzah!

  • Casey Baardson
    Posted at 12:50h, 24 May Reply

    Great thoughts Jill! Anxious for your next “baby”. (I wonder if you’ll go through this with all your “kids”?!)

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 16:28h, 24 May Reply

      Babies come in their own sweet time…as you know. 🙂

  • Deb Gallaway
    Posted at 17:40h, 25 May Reply

    Sounds like a wise and timely decision. I love hearing how good you felt, once you took this step. And I deeply appreciate your final comment: “Here’s to saying No in order to say Yes..” This is a lesson I am learning, and learning to trust.

    Bless you, Jill. I know you will be glad you took this step when you did.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 07:48h, 26 May Reply

      Thank you, Deb!There are so many ‘no’ and ‘yes’ things in life to choose between. I used to be a real “yes, yes, yes,’ person. Learning to say no is new. And good.

      • Deb Gallaway
        Posted at 11:58h, 26 May Reply

        Me too, Jill. And once one learns, even just a little bit, about the positive sides of being able to say “no,” it becomes quite startling to see how many people really wrestle with that. I’m excited for you.

Post A Comment