* * *
I was sitting in the Author’s Tent at the Baltimore Book Festival a couple of weeks ago when a young lady and her friend came up to my table. They couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13. I had bookmarks and candies as giveaways on my table, along with a stack of my novel, “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.”
The girls didn’t take a candy. Nor did they ask for a bookmark. Instead, they wanted something else.
“How are you?” I said, as they stood before me, a little shy and tentative.
“Good,” they said. “How are you?”
“Good,” I said. I smiled at them. “Would you like a candy?”
“Not really…well, maybe,” they said. “What we really want to do is ask you a question.”
“Sure,” I said. “You can ask me anything.”
They looked at each other, smiled, and then looked back at me. They were pretty adorable.
“Do you like being an author?” the one girl asked me.
I’d never been asked that question before. I’d never had to answer it.
“Yes, I do!” I said, hearing myself say it. I felt like Sam-I-Am when he has the epiphany that he does, indeed, like green eggs & ham. I’ve been writing since I was in junior high school, and the realization that I now have something in print sometimes does make me smile. So often, it feels like it’s happened to someone else and not to me. “I do like being an author,” I said again.
They giggled. “Why?”
Again, I’d been challenged to answer. “I’ve always wanted to tell stories,” I said, “and I’ve always enjoyed writing.”
“Is this book your story?” the one girl asked. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, so I questioned her for clarification.
“Do you mean is this book about me?”
“Yes,” they said.
“No,” I said. “It’s about two made up characters. But you know what? I love them as if they were real.”
There was a pause, and then one of the girls spoke.
“I want to write. I write every day. I want to write stories like you do,” she said.
“Then keep doing what you’re doing. Write in your journal. Tell stories. When you get older, write a blog and tell your stories. Write every time you get the chance. Never give up. Just keep writing,” I said. “It becomes a part of who you are.”
I could tell they completely understood what I was saying, and I have no doubt that one day I will read a book that they have authored.
They took a couple of candies, I high-fived them, and they thanked me for my time. I enjoyed meeting and talking with them.
So I guess that’s yet another reason why I like being an author.