A while back we had a little discussion here about books that made an indelible mark on us. You can totally check out that original post HERE.
As part of the conversation, a fabulous reader of our blog, Isobel, shared her thoughts on which book stuck with her and why. And then, you know what she did after that? She went out, bought a copy of the book and put it in the post to my publisher, Bold Strokes Books, with a note asking that they forward it to me. It took almost two months according to the Royal Mail postmark for the book to make the journey from the UK to the Pacific Northwest here in the US.
Needless to say, I was shocked and surprised and definitely humbled by Isobel’s kindness. This, to me, is more than just a wonderful example of how fabulous people can be. It’s also a testament to the power of the written word. Well told beautiful stories leave an impression on our souls, one that transcends time, and one that we want to share with others. And if that other just happens to be on the other side of the planet? Well, that’s a problem that can be solved with some time and the coordinated efforts of one kind reader, two nations of postal workers, and an intermediary who pushed the package along.
And it all started with a writer who sat down at the keyboard and typed.
If you’re a writer, remember that your words have real, lasting and meaningful impact on people you’ve never met, people who live on the other side of the world, people who might read your words long after you’ve been cremated and stuck in the biodegradable urn with a seed for a cottonwood tree (that’s my plan, at least). Treat your words with care and love and patience. Nurture them. Let them grow and become something amazing beyond yourself.
And if you’re a reader, remember that a person created the book that touched you. A person who might be questioning her worth as a writer. Take a moment and drop a note in email or facebook or even through the post to let that writer know that she did a good job by you. It doesn’t have to be long, or gushing, or particularly poetic. Just a few simple words. “I read your book. It moved me. Thank you for writing.” That’s a total of eleven words that, in our culture of virtual communication and online communities, would take just a few seconds to write and send. And I promise, the writer you contact won’t question why you didn’t say more. She won’t judge your spelling or your grammar or any other thing that you might worry about. She’ll be moved that you thought enough to take a moment and send your thanks. Perhaps as touched as you are about the book. Perhaps not. But definitely touched.
I haven’t had a chance to read the book Isobel sent to me yet. Thank you for the fabulous gift, by the way. But I will. And when I’m done, I’ll revisit the conversation about it. No, I won’t do a review. We don’t do that here at Women and Words. But I will definitely share my thoughts. If anyone else wants to be prepared, the book is Children of the Dead End, by Patrick MacGill.