“It’s about my faith journey, rising above the clutter,” said Liz Swanson of Hannibal, as she described her first book, “Life in the Clutter.”

“It’s about my faith journey, rising above the clutter,” said Liz Swanson of Hannibal, as she described her first book, “Life in the Clutter.”

“Everyone has clutter in their life,” Swanson said. “If it’s not physical clutter, it’s mental clutter.  We women we are all multitasking.”

The book has “stories and snippets of my life and things I think about,” she said. “For me, sometimes putting it down on paper helps me process it, and by writing it down I can be done with it.”

Her book, “can be insightful” and “entertaining,” she said. “It shows we are all in the same boat together. We all have problems.” One chapter is “God is real, alive and He has a plan for your life.”

The chapter Swanson recommends for inspiration is “Graduation Address,” which is “advice I would give to graduates.”

The book also has a lot of humor, Swanson said, “in the genre of Erma Bombeck. … I’ve always been one of the people who can never find their car keys or cell phone. … There are stories about this.”

Swanson will have a book signing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at the Hannibal Free Public Library, including a reading at around 3 p.m.

She will sell the book for $10 and invited people wanting to buy the book to call her at (573) 248-9799.

The book also is sold on the website lifeintheclutter.tateauthor.com and on amazon.com.

She hopes to sell it at local businesses.


Book resulted from

new year’s resolution


In 2012, Swanson made a new year’s resolution to write a journal, and she had no idea of creating a book. “It was a way for me to vent,” she said.

“Once there were several stories, I thought, ‘This could actually be a book.’ … I ended up getting a contract in 2013.” It was published April 1 by Tate Publishing in Mustang, Okla.

She selected the cover photo of a woman with six arms, holding a cell phone, pan, briefcase, mop, keys and drink glasses.

In the beginning her writing was a secret journal, “even from my husband, Bruce, and my daughter,” Swanson said. “I didn’t mean it to be a secret - it was just something I didn’t share.”

Sharing a personal journal is like “bearing your soul and letting people into your head,” she continued. But now that it is published, she welcomes readers.

The book is it dedicated to her mother, Dixie Clapper of Macon, Mo. “She has encouraged me in everything I ever did in my life, and she is my biggest fan,” Swanson said.

The book’s forward is a poem written by her late father, Charles Gaines, when he was 14 years old.

“He passed away when I was 10 years old, and he was only 42,” she explained. “That story is in the book.”

It also has stories about her daughter growing up “from my perspective,” Swanson said. Amanda Swanson, 15, is a Hannibal High School freshman and her only child.

“My husband, Bruce, had five children when I married him.” One chapter in the book is about Bruce suffering a stroke two years ago.

Another chapter features her late grandmother,  Jettie Gaines of Macon. “Some people have said they enjoyed that chapter the most,” Swanson said.

“She was the type traveler who liked to map out everything you were going to do. We went to San Francisco in the ‘90s, and she wanted to see ‘Acres of Workers.’ She broke her leg but still wanted to go. When we got there, it was the wrong season (to see Acres of Workers), and I talk about what a great way she handled it.”

The Swansons have lived in Hannibal since 1990 and at one time owned the Pirate’s Cove restaurant.

She was formerly executive director of the Becky Thatcher Area Girl Scout Council (which is no longer in existence). She also worked for the American Heart Association and American Lung Association.

Swanson is now assistant director of the Illinois Network for Education and Training (I/NET), a not-for-profit agency she and Kathy Fauble founded several years ago. “There is a chapter about that,” Swanson said, about how she and Fauble were with another agency and decided to begin this one. “We do continuing education for nurses through webinars,” she said.

Now that Swanson’s first book has been published, she said, “several people who have read it asked if I am going to write another one.” Her response? “I don’t know.”