Last night, I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Jeannette Walls. The second in a series of speakers hosted by Stevenson University in Baltimore, Walls’s humor, energy, and stellar storytelling capabilities were front and center as a packed house listened to her discuss details of her life as depicted in Walls’s bestselling memoir, “The Glass Castle.” Her first memoir topped the New York Times Best-Seller List for five years, has been translated into 24 languages, and has sold over 2.5 million copies. She’s been featured on “Oprah” and “Primetime.” The story of her peculiar, nomadic upbringing continues to captivate readers, as the raw quality with which she tells her stories are mesmerizing and fascinating.
Afterwards, I had the pleasure of meeting with her and talking with her briefly. I told her that I had written the piece on her, The Professor Prologue, for Stevenson’s website. It was an honor to have been asked to write it, as she serves as an inspiration to me and other writers. “Tell your story,” she said last night during her talk. “The things that life throws at us are both blessings and curses.”
When I told her that I had written and self-published my first novel, with great enthusiasm she congratulated me, and asked me what it was about. When I gave her the short overview of the novel, she asked me how I came up with my fictional story idea. “Was it based on any reality?” she asked. “I find fiction writing and the creative writing process difficult.” How humble can one person be? She was asking me about my fictional creative writing process.
And that’s what you get with Jeannette Walls. After the speech, people came up to shake her hand. She got down and knelt on the stage to be closer to them and talk with them. She’s a lovely person with real stories and poignant messages to share. And she certainly knows how to make friends along her lovely journey.