The Story of Mike
Mike was a legally blind young boy from an economically disadvantaged home in the rural south. Somewhere in first grade the schools had given up on him. Students and teachers had pushed him aside saying, “Never mind Mike, he can’t read.” And Mike cooperated – if he “couldn’t read,” he wouldn’t read.
Dr. Kirk, a psychiatrist at Vanderbilt had worked and worked with this boy and had been unable to determine why he was not reading. She heard that I had a special gift for teaching kids to read, and asked me to assist.
Mike’s family drove him from Kentucky to Nashville to meet with me. Since it was all they could do to put together the gas money for the drive to Nashville, I knew I had to make every moment count.
We started talking and Mike expressed an interest in machines. I checked with his parents and took him down to the boiler room at Peabody College on the campus of Vanderbilt University, where we went in and asked to meet the engineer.
The engineer was a patient man with a wonderful heart, and Mike asked him all sorts of wonderful questions about the boiler and the heat it was radiating. The engineer allowed Mike to touch and explore the machinery – and I realized that Mike inherently knew more about science than he could learn from any book. He already knew more than many students at the graduate level, and here he was coming to me because his school thought him slow!
His parents found the gas money to bring him back again the next week and at the next session, I gave him an article on heat. I told him “Don’t read it. Just look at the words that you can make out.” He started picking out just choice words so that he could get the idea – and of course, he could tell I knew nothing about the subject. Here, in my complete ignorance of this subject, was a boy who knew so much.
I thought to myself “He is my teacher! Here I am with this treasure, this miracle in my hands!”
After some time his teacher from Russellville, Kentucky called me, amazed at his improvement, saying, “This boy’s never read before, and suddenly, he’s scanning the material in class and raising his hand to respond to my questions. The other kids just look at him now in disbelief. I have to look at the book just to stay ahead of him!”
It was disturbing to me because it happened so fast. These wonderful things were happening for Mike and I knew they were real; yet, it seemed like magic, and I had difficulty accounting for everything that was happening. I wasn’t completely sure what to think. I experienced great self-doubt because the results of my work with Mike far exceeded what I had believed possible.
One of the things that made me more comfortable with Mike’s turnaround was this: I had invited Dr. Lillian Bloeschl to come to Nashville. She was in charge of counseling at the University of Graz in Austria. I had met her there, and invited her to spend a month here in Nashville. Having sat in on one of my sessions with Mike she said, “You know, Gayle, you don’t have to know clinically what’s happening here – it’s enough to know that Mike is now reading at grade level and beyond.”
But I wanted to fully understand how I was able to achieve these results, and I couldn’t. “Lillian,” I said, “If I could explain this scientifically, it would be one thing, but I feel kind of like the medicine man at the circus or a magician at the carnival that magically unlocks the box through some kind of trick. What’s happening here that this boy can read?”
Mike’s success was not coming from me.
Find Anne Vincent here.
Welcome to Paperback Writer.
PBW: Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
ANNE: Of course! My mother, Gayle, and I worked together as practicing psychotherapists for over 15 years and knew that we had to share the Love Motif with the world because it had revolutionized the lives of our clients.
PBW: Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
ANNE: This process was a long one in that the shape and form of the book changed over time. I have a first draft from back in 1997!
PBW: How did you come up with the title?
ANNE: We wanted to give people of all walks of life a path to inner nourishment. The concept of stillness has been so central to our work. It made sense that we choose a title that clearly said “here’s how you get there.”
PBW: How did you find an agent and publisher?
ANNE: It took over 2 years of closed doors and detours before a publicistfriend of mine in Nashville, Mary Glenn McCombs, referred me to Amy Collins Macgregor at the Cadence Group.
PBW: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
ANNE: Actually a couple of years as my mother, Gayle, had developed vascular dementia in the process.
PBW: How long did it take from start to publication?
ANNE: In this format close to 4 years.
PBW: Do you have any advice for new authors?
ANNE: Get the best people to help you and just go for it!
Thank you, Anne for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual book tour. I wish you continued success through the rest of you tour.