100 words: The Kindness of Strangers

So I think I mentioned that I started a novel. And telling people that has helped because then I have to tell them what it’s about, I have to think about how I want to describe it to potential readers and therefore how to tell the story.

The thing that has surprised me the most? The complete and utter faith that complete strangers have in my writing. Granted, it doesn’t cost them a thing to toss out encouraging words, and most of the time, I’ll never see them again so what’s the harm? But nobody has to say those things. Nobody would notice if they didn’t say nice things.

Take exhibit a: A woman I met on a work trip to Victoria, BC, Canada. I spent roughly four days around her in the workshop we were both attending. We had lunch together a few times, and spent a little time getting to know each other. I had mentioned my writing to her at a dinner one night and we didn’t talk much about it at the time. We were saying good bye at the end of the last day of the workshop and she said, “I can’t wait to read your book. I know it’s going to be good.” I demurred, waving her compliment away with a fluttering hand. “No, I know it will be,” she said with so much confidence and quiet assurance all I could think of to say was, “Thank you. I will send you a copy.”

Exhibit B: A woman in the grocery store. Turns out she’s a nurse from Tennessee visiting her daughter. I told her I was a writer and she immediately wanted my email. I was so taken aback I gave it to her. She said, “I can tell. You’re going to be a famous writer.”

I KNOW this is nonsense, but I just noticed how wonderful it feels to hear such things from people who have no real vested interest in me or my work. My dream, dare I say it, is that I somehow project an air of writerliness and confidence such that they all just assume I’m more a writer than I think I am.

So I should get to work writing that famous book, eh?


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