COVID-19: An Auspicious Time for Me- Blog Post From Marlena Fiol

Marlena Fiol, author of Nothing Bad Between Us, has written a new blog post on how the Covid-19 has affected her life, take a look.

After postponing the launch date three times due to COVID-19, my publisher finally released my memoir on October 27. Yes. Exactly one week before the most controversial and significant election in my lifetime. And right in the midst of a pandemic that has now killed nearly a quarter of a million people in the U.S. alone.

Friends and colleagues have sent notes of condolence. “I’m very sorry that your book is coming out during these challenging times.” “With bookstores closed and events cancelled, it’s so hard for authors right now.”

We’re “invisible in the market,” they say. The world will lose our voices. And “It’s so challenging to stay focused and keep writing with all the emotionally draining distractions around us.”

While all of this may be true for some, I believe this is an auspicious time for me to be an author.

Auspicious means “of good omen.” The etymological root of the word is the Latin auspicium “divination by observing the flight of birds.” In ancient Rome, the flight of birds was considered a sign from the gods. There seem to be at least two auspicious signs from the gods for me as an author in this moment.

Readers from Far and Wide

Because COVID has forced me to promote myself and my book in online settings, I have gotten in touch with a much broader set of readers than I ever could have reached in person.

For example, a childhood friend from Paraguay, South America, whom I had not seen or heard from in sixty years (yes, you read that right: 60!), has found me and is now reading my book. A friend of my parents from Goessel, Kansas contacted me expressing an interest in my memoir, as well as our forthcoming novel about my parents’ life and work in Paraguay.

At my virtual book launch event several days ago, the range of people gathered together to fete the memoir’s release took my breath away: My own family, colleagues from numerous decades in the business world, fellow authors, my physician, former neighbors, writing teachers and editors, friends from the world of tai chi, as well as childhood acquaintances.

I barely got through the bookstore-hosted Zoom launch event without crying…after all, people did not sign up to watch an author break down crying. But when the event ended, I could not hold back my tears of gratitude.

It was an auspicious evening.

Readers Who Long to Be Inspired

In the face of an election season of fearmongering and finger-pointing, we are all in desperate need of reminders of our better selves. And when so many of us are facing losses and physical/social isolation, we need to be reminded that we’re part of a larger community, and that our higher purpose during this crisis is to build a better world together.

In short, we long to be inspired to find our truest selves.

At one level, my book is a raw and gut-wrenching story of a young girl who suffered abuse from her ultra-strict father and was shamed and humiliated in front of her entire childhood Mennonite church.

But the dark times in the book are there to illuminate a path to healing and wholeness. Here’s an email I received from a reader just the other day:

“You really put yourself out there. That takes real courage, and I commend your honesty. The story would have much less power without this level of risk, so you have done the world a service because many of us have hidden stories we should really share with others. We all need a new level of honesty in our world, since it seems to be rapidly disappearing.”

Readers today yearn for honesty, inspiration and encouragement. They long to experience authentic connection. And they ache for healing.

I feel privileged and honored to be coming out with a book that readers find inspiring and encouraging at this critical moment in our history.

It is an auspicious time, indeed, for me to be an author.


Nothing Bad Between Us

A Mennonite Missionary’s Daughter Finds Healing in Her Brokenness

This story differs from similar accounts of childhood domination or abuse because it tells the story of the author’s seemingly paradoxical responses to the powerful forces in my life, but doesn’t leave it at that. It sheds light on the social and religious dynamics underlying these responses, giving readers insights into and understanding of her otherwise incomprehensible choices, as she found my way back into loving relationships with her parents and the Mennonite community.

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