This is the day. Here I sit, pre-dawn at the same kitchen table as every other day, tawny owl hooting in the backyard, wondering if the people who preordered the book will be reading it today. Today is the day my book is out.
Nothing visible has really changed between yesterday and today – we’re in a pandemic: Lockdown. There is no party or event scheduled. In fact it is completely quiet here at this hour, with no appliance noises, no electricity noises, no heating noises: It’s compeltely quiet. (except for my typing) – but there is change. The book is out now, and whoever wants to read it can read it.
That’s pretty good!
It is also pretty daunting, because the way I write (and the way I teach) is to rather lay it on the line, but this might not be obvious. You see I know I can tell a story. I know I can speak. I might have told the story once on this blog that in high school I was on the speech team. That was a wonderful bunch of people- both students and coaches, and we would meet at the school at 6am to pile onto busses and go to other high schools to compete in our various categories. I read verse and dabbled in extemporaneous speaking. I always won the verse competitions. Like always – once I placed second. I saved one of the comments sheets that reads ‘That was so beautiful I forgot to write.’ -It’s a weird thing; I know I can talk and connect.
Reading verse was easier than writing my own book though, because when reading Sylvia Plath or any of the other poets I was pretending. I took on their persona, their essence. In this book it’s different. This book is non-fiction and based on research, and at the same time, it is a collection of my thoughts explained through me. In these pages are a few drops of my essence – my soul, -and that’s not something that happens in casual conversation. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of people who have ever, without reservation, heard what I am thinking. (That might be surprising as I speak quite frankly, but I promise I think a lot more deeply)
So I hope, heart in hand, that you do read these pages. Perhaps you don’t even notice ‘me’ in them, and that’s ok! – I serve as an example, but the book is definitely not a book about me. It is about letting you look through me to see yourself. I hope the stories, the conceps, I hope they touch you and make you think – make you blink, and make you see just a little bit differently. Maybe, just maybe you’ll wake up like I do – even if it’s hours before the dawn – wake up knowing the sun is just around the corner.
Laura Gibbs, (someone I met via twitter and have never met in person) wrote this initial review:
Laura Ritchie’s latest book, “Yes I Can: Learn to Use the Power of Self-efficacy,” could not come at a better time. If you have been struggling in the pandemic to learn new skills or relax with a new hobby, or if you are contemplating something even more extreme such as a change in careers, Laura Ritchie’s warm, honest, encouraging voice in these pages can help you take charge of your learning. Her emphasis on deliberation and self-awareness can help you channel the doubts and fears of your inner critic into a new direction: self-efficacy, a belief in yourself and in your capacity to take/make opportunities that will help you to achieve your goals. Learning is not easy or automatic like so many of the conveniences of modern life, but learning is always possible, and this book will help you embrace that sense of possibility, of challenge, of change. Change is inevitable; there is no standing still, and the pandemic has made that fact of life even more clear, sometimes scarily so. But change also creates an open space for learning, and in that open space you can take charge of your own learning. In fact, you have always been in charge of your own learning, despite the best efforts of school to try to convince you otherwise. As Ritchie says, “Only you can judge and decide what your capabilities are.” If you are ready to begin to explore your untapped capabilities, this book is a great place to start!