I went to an event tonight at Surrey Kidsbooks. It was a teacher appreciation day with various authors invited in to come and chat. I was seated with Lee Edward Fodi, a fellow CWC mentor and friend.
I’ve only been gone from Kidsbooks for, well, less than two weeks. And (the big decision I had to make that I never told you I made) I’ll be back once a week on Thursdays, yet going there tonight was like coming home again. It’s that feeling of total comfort where you know people are glad to see you, to talk to you, and to have you there.
I had a moment where I was talking to someone about a book, and immediately started showing her other books that were similar to the one she was buying. Not so much old habits, as a sincere desire to help people find a book they’ll love. A book that I love, one that they can share an enjoyment in with me.
Often I wonder why I’m writing for a living. The money is terrible, there are no health benefits, and it means I have to spend almost all my time alone. I’m certainly not doing this to change the world, nor do I have any delusions that my work will one day change the world into a better place. It won’t. So, what the heck am I doing?
There was this moment when I was helping this woman, that I realized the books we were so excited to share with each other were the kind of books that will never change the world. But the look in her eyes, the tone in her voice as she described her students’ excitement to get these books, told me that they have a purpose. That the books I write also have a purpose. That I, then, have a purpose!
There are times when life is confusing, and you call that friend who always seems to know how to sort out complicated times. Then, there are those times when you need that friend who teaches you how to better yourself. Those two friends, like books, are important and valued and indispensable. But so is that friend that you call when you just need to goof off, to have fun, to laugh, or to share a scary movie.
Those are the books I write – my purpose. To give teens that time away from their studies where they can just be teens – without the pressure of having to learn anything of value. Because, yeah, sometimes we just need to goof off.
These are the things I learned tonight as I returned to Kidsbooks, not as an employee but as an author. I learned there is value in what I do.