One of the most rewarding outcomes of writing and publishing The Cancer Effect is to see it finding its way into the hands of those who could benefit from my journey. I’ve been intrigued by some of the stories I’ve heard, shared by friends and family, and I sense there are stories out there that I’ll probably never hear. Today, I had the privilege of witnessing one such occasion 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 and new binding. My eyes immediately took in 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, letting her know I was the author.
“I know exactly where it is.” With a huge grin, she led me to the area where books on Health and specifically Cancer were housed. “I personally arranged this section myself this morning. I placed your book facing forward for all to see.”
I’m not sure if there are words to describe the feeling of seeing a book you have written, poised serenely among 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.
I was suddenly struck with the idea of capturing 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 just taking a picture of my own book that was recently published.”
“Seriously! You’re 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, and the chance encounter was capped by meeting that special grandmother who happened to be in another area of 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 real bookstore, I was there when the first book purchased was scanned, bagged, and placed in the hands of someone who would benefit from reading it. 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.