The Road to Promise is a nonfiction book about aching to become a writer while navigating the challenges of life in the mission field.
I have completed the manuscript of The Road to Promise, which tells the story of my struggle to become a writer while navigating the chaotic reality of being a construction missionary through my then-husband's commitment. This 339-page memoir about this period of my life is titled The Road to Promise because my first encounter with the Native Americans in our country took place in Promise, South Dakota—a grassy stretch of prairie on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. I would be forever changed by my exposure to the Lakota, who made an impression on me as I tried to come to grips with the inequitable balance of poverty and wealth within our country, the limitations of religion and ineffectiveness of its clergy, the deceit of the government, the degradation of a people, and the need to express myself and my values.
“The feeling a prosperous man should have in the presence of the unfortunate—not compassion, but the sense that the difference between him and those poor wretches is not deserved,” is how Edith Hamilton described Aidos, one of the two personified emotions in Greek mythology. This sibling to Nemesis is all about shame, and I became intimate with both during nine years in the mission field as we built churches in struggling communities in Central America, and on Native American reservations in South Dakota and Alaska.
I wrote the poem emblazoned on the video while on the reservations. The title is skinciya, which means struggle in Lakota. It most aptly expresses how it felt to be so raw as I tried to understand my place in such a painful world:
It is difficult
someone else’s struggle
when it stokes the fire
of your own
you’ve labored for years
to swallow the smoke.
I have not yet attracted a publishing house so I intend to self-publish. What I will do with my kickstarter funds: pay a designer to design the graphic art aspects of the book; hire an editor to insure my manuscript is clean and well manicured; hire a publicist for an extensive public relations and marketing campaign in print and on the web; order review copies of the book to send to print journalists and bloggers; pay mailing and promotional costs; hire a videographer to create a book trailer; hire a professional to create a series of pod-casts of me reading the material for internet publicity; travel to book fairs to promote the book.
What people are saying about The Road to Promise:
“I know that you will be successful taking your memoirs from the digital platform to traditional publishing. Your story has an undeniable universal appeal on an emotional level that I've seen only in a handful of books.” –Carmen Natschke
“Wow, these stories are fantastic! I get a window into you as I read
them while at the same time floodgates open inside of me. I love how you
separate your own projection from the life of a woman who couldn't
possibly see the world as you do and did. It's in that kind of empathy
that real cultural exchanges happen. Keep at it; I love reading these
stories, Saxon!” –Paul Anater
“Once again, your resonating words strike close to the bone, as some macabre skeletal xylophone. I feel your memories brushing past my own, raising the hair on the back of my neck and quickening prickles of recognition; your guilty discomfort at epithets expressed, your transfer of the sacred to the profane, the heretical connections of the temporal and the transcendent. My eyes are wide open in disbelieve, attention and anticipation. Apologies for the reflexive response, but there it is. Wow.” –Rich Holschuh
“Every time I read an excerpt from your work-in-progress, I find myself scribbling things down in my own journal. It is always a strange revelation to contrast one's own fulfillments (or lack thereof) and beliefs with those of seemingly empty others. Coworkers, fellow students, etc - sometimes I wonder what it is that gets them out of bed in the morning, do they have something they truly love or believe in? I am then forced, as you were, to consider my own incentives and values - and I stupefy myself nearly every time. It is truly humbling.” –Chamois Green
“As I read this post, the words rolled over in my head until they changed into ‘Live what you love.’ This also reminds me of an old hymn, ‘They will know we are Christians by our love...’ That line always struck me as vitally important - not just to religion, but to all areas of life. If you want to prove yourself valuable to someone, prove that you hold something valuable within yourself. You do this by letting that precious inner light burst out of every word and action. (‘Actions speak louder than words’ comes to mind.) Gabb did not say, ‘Let your mouth speak your beliefs,’ he suggested that the hands should perform the holding. We, essentially, need to shut up, and must cup our hands and SHOW their contents to the world - brimming with our convictions and beliefs.
“The woman you sat beside who seemed an empty shell, painted with happy Easter colors (‘empty tomb’ representation pops into my head here) - my heart breaks for her as well. She gushes over your endeavors - talking, talking, talking. Not acting. She oohs and ahhs over your hands (your writing=your soul, I believe...and its sort of an action, too, I suppose), but doesn't offer up her own. Perhaps she has nothing to present? Whether or not this is true in her case, there are people out there who really do not seem to have a fire in their chest. This is very sad.
“To return to the initial phrase – ‘Let your heart hold hands with your beliefs’ - I suppose the image of a married couple sprung up as well. (You know, those commercials - "Diamonds are forever" with the young couple spotting the old couple still holding hands in the park?) Our hearts should be married to our hands. We should perform that which we are living to breathe.” –Gerard McLean
I would like to thank Pryor Callaway for providing the wonderful video accompanying this request for funding.
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