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  • Writer's pictureAndi Settlemoir Barney

Let's Go.

I think there is a time and a place for everything, and if you can let go and let the universe do it's thing, you'll know when things show up at the right time. This whole project has been put on hold for some time because we were so busy living a life of poverty while we toiled away in our business, trying to move from thriving to surviving. I'm happy to announce we are totally thriving, and our little business is growing into a big business with amazing people! The one thing that has nagged at me for sometime is this project, and telling my story. It seems I never have time to devote to revisiting my prison journal, and going back to write what needs to be said, shop for an agent, or make any efforts to move forward. So much has changed since 2014, when I first launched this project. The push back then was telling my story before a petty person beat me to it. I now see that moment as a gift, because I was unintentionally keeping myself in prison from so much shame that I carried around. Once this blog went public, and my quilting community discovered my deep, dark, dirty secret, I suddenly had requests to speak about my past in front of other Guilds. In fact, I have given my "Quilts that Change Lives" two or three times to the same guild. One of my favorite guilds back in Georgia voted me as speaker of the year in their guild, and that was such a humble moment. I am honored. I've given this particular lecture about prison 40+ times in the last few years, and I'm still doing it. Speaking about prison in front of a crowd was so hard the first time... but that didn't last. What I found is that the more vulnerable I was, the more help I could give to others. I haven't done one single lecture where at least one person approached me with their own fears, shame, and burdens of a loved one also in the justice system or incarcerated. I suddenly understood my purpose, in addition to educating others about the truth of the justice system and who is behind bars and why.


I wrote the first draft of my memoir about pre-, during, and post-prison back in 2007. Just one year after I was released. I did it as part of NaNoWriMo that year, and actually completed it. However, I realized years ago that it was too soon. Now I have 15+ years of reflection and to me, that's vital to the nature of this book.


In short, life has finally shifted for us. We've spent the last 7 years in poverty and sacrifice to help our growing business take off. Survival didn't leave any room for deep writing, but I knew the time would come, and I would know it was the right time. Last week, I ended up in the hospital for 5 nights avoiding a stroke. This was my third trip to the ER with dangerously high BP, and I was put in the stroke unit/ICU to get me out of danger and figure out what's going on. On my last day there, I was starting to feel better than I had in a month and a half. And that's when I saw Father Nathan Monk, a writer and... philosopher, maybe? that I truly admire and love, was hosting a writing conference today. Everything in me said I need to be there. I messaged Paul, told him the price, and he said do it. I didn't even think, I just did it. I'm still processing my day, but the universe is telling me, it's time. Now is the time. After hearing my 2-minute pitch on my book, Nathan now wants to work with me over the next year and help me get this story out. I am still trying to digest this. I will be publishing here a lot more. It's time.

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