One of the most rewarding outcomes of writing and publishing The Cancer Effect is to hear my journey has helped someone. Today I got to witness this first hand.
I had just finished eating lunch with my friend, Sue. We were right next to a bookstore that was selling The Cancer Effect. Anxious to see my own creation displayed on a bookstore shelf for the first time, we walked in.
I have always loved bookstores. Nothing compares to the smell of fresh print on paper. Quickly scanning the store, my eyes found the displays that were intended to grab the customers’ attention: Staff Picks, New Releases, Best Sellers. Eager to locate where my young publication was placed, I asked an employee if she knew where I could find The Cancer Effect. Smiling shyly, I told her I was the author.
“I know exactly where it is.” Grinning, she led me to the Health section and pointed to the shelf housing cancer books. “I personally arranged this section myself this morning and placed your book facing forward for all to see.”
There are no words to describe my feelings as I stared at my masterpiece, poised serenely among the other books. The soft hues in the cover seemed to proclaim, “Pay attention to me! My story is grand!” The hours of laborious, yet glorious moments of writing sat completed before me, satisfied and fulfilled, a part of my soul. I picked it up reverently and thumbed through the pages, remembering all we had been through together. Placing it carefully back on the shelf, I turned to leave.
Wait! Why not capture this moment on camera? Sue and I gently posed the book and I crouched down next to it. Completing the photo session, I stood and casually glanced around the corner only to see a young woman also taking pictures of books. Laughing, I remarked, “It’s interesting that two people are using their phones to photograph books sitting on shelves in a bookstore!” She hastily explained, “Oh, I’m making a book list of items I want to read this year and it’s easier to take shots of them than write down the titles. Are you doing the same?” “No,” I answered, suddenly a little shy of revealing my real reason for photographing a shelf full of books. “I was taking a picture of the book I wrote and published.”
“Seriously! Are you an author? Tell me about your book.”
Excited to share my story with interested ears, I offered a quick summary. She responded with words I have heard over and over, “My grandmother is a cancer survivor.” Replace the word “grandmother” with “mother”, “sister”, “friend”, “aunt”, “dad”, to find that almost everyone knows someone who has battled cancer.
“If I buy your book right now, will you sign it for me?”
She didn’t have to ask twice. Capping off the chance encounter, she led me to her grandmother who was also in the bookstore. How I love to connect with fellow survivors. We are family.
Not only did I get to see my book displayed on the shelf of a bookstore, I was there when the first book purchased was scanned, bagged, and placed in the hands of someone who would benefit from its pages. I have been asked many times, “Why did you write this book?” I often find myself stumbling to find suitable words to answer that question. Days like today make my purpose clear–sharing my journey, providing hope and encouragement. That is why I wrote.