When you get what you need most

Good morning, everyone! Arrived home safe and sound from Chicago and BEA on Saturday night. Spent Sunday being spoiled by the family, napping to get back on west coast time, and nursing a now bad shoulder.

Note to self: next time you load in for a trade show, consider multiple trips to your rental car so you don’t partially dislocate your shoulder. Ugh.

One of the things I did in Chicago was visit my writing mentor. Sorta. You see, he passed away 3 years ago. I only knew him online and never met him in person. His wife, a very gracious woman and lady in every sense of the word, was open to meeting me at the cemetery so I could pay my respects. This happened on Friday the 13th. And, in all honesty, all parties involved felt it was more than appropriate.

Not only was I able to grieve finally for his passing, but I know from her that what I’ve tried to do to repay his kindness to me is exactly what he would’ve wanted me to do. To take the wisdom and insights into publishing he gave me and share it with other authors. Make sure they don’t go into the business with starry eyes and high expectations, but with feet firmly planted in reality. That they understand that there was a business end to this and that they had to see beyond that their book would be up for sale.

I learned she thought he’d be very proud of me, and how I’ve progressed with both my writing and career. That affirmation was what I needed most, above being able to say goodbye to him.

We exchanged gifts, though neither of us discussed this prior to the meeting. I presented her with a copy of the book I dedicated to him, with a personal message on the same page as the dedication to him. And she gave me my first and only real Chicago souvenir. A snowglobe with the city skyline. I took great care in packing it for the trip home and it now has a place of honor on my desk.

Oh, and she introduced me to Polish cuisine. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every author, regardless of the level of success they have, hopes that whoever they looked up to as a mentor approves of how they’ve grown as a writer. And how they conduct themselves as a person. I was beyond lucky enough to get that three years after he passed away.

As my flight lifted off on Saturday night, I whispered a silent, “Goodbye, Nick” and was smiling.


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