Writers Who Meet Readers

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Art & Letters, Blog | 2 comments

        If I really knew the song “Peo­ple Who Need Peo­ple,” I’d be hum­ming it right now. How­ever, I only know that the song goes on to say “…are the luck­i­est peo­ple.” And the rea­son I’m think­ing of this song is Pam.
        And I don’t really know Pam, either, but in a funny way, I feel I know some­thing about her heart. At the book­sign­ing at the RT Booklover’s Con­ven­tion, I found myself seated near the amaz­ing and leg­endary Mary Balogh, whose books I have loved and even stud­ied. I came into the sign­ing with plenty of hopes and goals–meet read­ers! Hand out mag­nets and post­cards! Sell books! But when I saw Mary Balogh’s name card on the table to my left, some­thing told me to slow down and savor what being here at this sign­ing meant.
        I’m so glad I did, because oth­er­wise I might have missed Pam. She was in Mary’s line (Mary Balogh had a l-i-i-i-i-i-ne, you see. Me, not so much!), and in one of my take-a-deep-breath-and-be-here-now moments, I saw her say a few words to Mary and give her a present, a hand­ker­chief embroi­dered with Proverbs 3:5–6 (“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own under­stand­ing. In all thy ways acknowl­edge him, and he shall direct your paths.”):  Proverbs 3:5-6
       I got teary, see­ing the beau­ti­ful crafts­man­ship of the embroi­dery and the heart­felt spirit in which Pam offered that gift. I knew her in that moment, try­ing to express to an author what her books have meant to you, want­ing to give back some part of the joy and mean­ing the sto­ries gave to you.
        Pam and I chat­ted for a few min­utes after­wards, and she moved on. Mary Balogh’s huge stack of books dis­ap­peared quickly, but she gra­ciously remained at her table to sign book­marks (which are won­der­fully British, as you can see here). My lit­tle stack of books got smaller in a more grad­ual way, and I was feel­ing braver about talk­ing to “strangers”–not my nat­ural bent, but every­one was so excited and kind, it felt that way. Then, at one point, I glanced up, and saw Pam again.
        She’d brought me a hand­ker­chief. She had gone all the way to her car and back to bring me a lovingly-crafted gift and to wish me well with my writing.
        My first reac­tion was to refuse. Because, you know, I don’t deserve this gift. I haven’t earned Pam’s regard the way Mary Balogh has; I can’t think that I ever will. But Pam wanted me to have it, and so I took home this reminder of grace and of trust, and of the rea­son to write from my heart.
        I was so over­whelmed I for­got to get Pam’s con­tact infor­ma­tion so I could thank her prop­erly. I hope our paths cross again some­time. For now, I’ll have to say thank you from here. I will trea­sure it always, Pam, not just for its beauty, but because it took only a sec­ond or two in your pres­ence to know the lov­ing spirit behind its creation.
        Writ­ers who meet readers–we’re not just lucky. We are blessed.

2 Comments

  1. That is a truly lovely story! I do think that as writ­ers, we get so busy writ­ing that we for­get what our books might mean to read­ers, what we hope they mean to read­ers. I got one of your fun book­marks from the Goody room at RWA and wanted to say thank you. Now I am dou­bly glad I did as I loved your post! It reminds me of what both Cathy Maxwell and Kris­tan Hig­gins said at the lun­cheon speeches — our books do mat­ter! I look for­ward to read­ing your book!

    • Those speeches were so inspiring–I think every­one came out of the lun­cheons with red eyes. It’s so sweet of you to come look me up. I had fun design­ing the book­marks, and it’s cool to know you liked them. Hope you enjoy The Type­writer Girl!

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