Wednesday August 7, 2013

I have a love/hate with social media.  Most people do, I think.  I don't need to know when you've "checked in" at a local restaurant or care to read about how your kids are driving you crazy.  But, in this connected world, we can share ideas and information so easily, and some of it is really good.  I'm always looking for new voices and new motivation.  I love to read other people's thoughts on the world as they see it.  I take from these the things that work for me, and leave the rest.

A Facebook post by a friend last week led me to an article.  It's actually a commencement speech given by writer George Saunders at Syracuse this past spring.  His message:  be kinder.  "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness."  He reminds us that the people we remember fondly in our lives are those who were the kindest to us.  Not the richest or the most powerful or most successful, but the kindest.  It's a wonderful read, so if you care to, click here.

We are given these opportunities every day.  Opportunities to connect.  Opportunities to be kind.

When we returned from the cabin, there were some unexpected birthday cards in the mail.  Several people remembered Shannon and honored her with donations to the foundation or just a note to say "she is remembered".  That was a day brightener.

Yesterday, Erin and I were shopping at Target and I stepped away to answer a phone call.  Erin was approached by a woman who asked, "Are you Smiley?"  Turns out the woman is a blog follower and she recognized Miss E.  She told Erin, "I saw you there and just had to say something."  Very kind.

I had a pick me up earlier this week.  A woman I knew 20 years ago called me.  She read Determined to Matter while on vacation with her children and grandchildren.  It touched her deeply, and she was so grateful that she felt compelled to pick up the phone and tell me that.  We had a wonderful conversation, and she thanked me.  It absolutely made my day.

I've get asked a lot, "How are book sales going?"  The short answer is, I don't know.  It's a bit anxiety inducing for me to think about.  We are still early in the process - two months since publication - and while it has sold well here locally and at events that we've had, beyond that, it hasn't really picked up any steam.  Of course, I am still hoping to get lucky and have it get some play on a regional and then national level.

But, that phone call this week reminded me that that's not why I wrote the book.  I wrote the book to honor Shannon and to share our story.  I wrote the book to reach people and, hopefully, move people.  If that happens just one person at a time, there's nothing wrong with that.  That person was affected.  That person connected with something I wrote, and it reminded them to cherish each day.

I'm going to try to think of the book as an act of kindness, one copy at a time...