Wednesday, September 1, 2010

for Sylvie

Holy cow, it's been almost a month since I've posted? Whoa. Let's just chalk it up to enjoying the rest of summer break, working hard on the new novel, prepping for a new semester of teaching, and a bit of blogger's block.

Oh, and I've gotten completely hooked on The Big Bang Theory. I'm almost done watching Season 2 (thank you, Netflix!)

The first time I sold a book to someone I didn't know, I remember the bizarre feeling, almost like letting strangers walk through your bedroom when it's at its messiest. My hand shook as I signed it for her. When Faking It and Ordinary World took off on Kindle this year, the feeling was multiplied several times over. Not only were people I'd never met reading my books, but readers all across the country (and eventually Canada and the UK) were too!

Despite the weird feeling, this eventually pleased me, of course, and I was especially touched by those who had taken the time to write and tell me what the books had meant to them. Some had shared personal feelings and stories, especially of their own loss, and I never could have known six years ago that Andi was going to mean anything to anyone other than myself.

A few months ago one of my rhet-comp mentors called me out of the blue. She had been driving with a good friend of hers named Sylvie, who happened to mention this terrific book she'd just read on her Kindle that she just had to recommend. It just so happened to be Faking It.

"Oh, I know that book," said my friend to Sylvie. "In fact, I know the author. I'm listed in her acknowledgements."

Sylvie was beside herself. My friend put her on the phone to speak to me, where she complimented my work and was so pleased to be speaking to an author in person. The conversation had made my day as well -- how cool was it for someone I didn't know to recommend my book to one of my good friends!

Sadly, last week I found out that Sylvie was killed in a car accident on Staten Island. When I offered condolences to my friend for her loss, she told me that Sylvie had loved Ordinary World just as much as Faking It. This touched me deeply.

I'm not sure what I'm getting at here, except to say that most of us never know how we make a difference in another's life, especially someone we don't know or have never met. One doesn't need to write a book in order to touch another person's life. It can be as simple as a smile on the subway, holding the door open for a woman with a stroller, paying for a customer's cup of coffee just because. Little, random acts of kindness are contagious, and in some cases can actually be life-changing. Try it.


Anne R. Allen said...

I know just what you're talking about. A couple of days ago, I got an email from a man in England who said his foster daughter is a huge fan of my books and they've made a world of difference to her and she wants to follow in my footsteps! Amazing. Your words are out there floating around and touch random people, maybe in life-altering ways. You brightened Sylvie's life. What a great thing to know!

And don't worry about not blogging for a month. You haven't failed to blog, you've succeeded in joining the Slow Blogger movement! I've blogged about it this week on my blog at

Elisa said...

Ahhh... The Slow Blogger Movement --- I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing, Anne!

Anonymous said...

I think the closest analogy of it is the day you send your child off to school in public for the first time. "I hope people are kind to her," is what it begins with, and then it morphs into, "I hope she will unlock her full potential." I think if we are serious about the story, our insecurities will turn into challenges.

Just discovered your blog, Elisa. Look forward to checking out your books!

Elisa said...

Thanks, Bryan!

Talei said...

Hi Elisa,

I'm glad I found your blog. Whilst reading your post here, I found myself nodding along - its true, small things we do everyday can affect people in many ways. I'm a huge fan of smiling! ;) And I'm glad I found your blog, congrats on your books!

Elisa said...

Thank you, Talei!

Chalicewoman said...

I have just reread Faking It and Ordinary World for the third time. Each time I get something different from the stories, something that I need to hear. Thank you for the time, energy, and effort that you put into your books. They truly are a gift.