I’ll forgive you if you assume that the life of an obscure blogger is all parties and champagne and hobnobbing with the beautiful jet-setters of the world. I’ll understand if that’s your perception of how I roll. I am sorry, however, to report that my daily interactions are far less glamorous. (Although parenthetically, I did just turn down an all-expenses-paid trip to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. It was from a childhood pal and if it weren’t for my doctor’s orders, I’d be winging down there momentarily.)
Offers of free travel aside, I find myself not leading anything other than a mundane existence, until I ran into Steve. This was a few days ago and I was traipsing around Beaumont Hospital with a PR rep., taking photos of nurses for an upcoming Nursing Appreciation Week display. The staff there was so helpful to me during my extended stays that I jumped at the opportunity to give something back to their community.
As I was finishing up and leaving one part of the complex, a nurse came running up to us and asked, “are you the Spiritual Wanderer?” Now, look at this from my perspective; not having anyone ever ask me that, I was sure it was a joke perpetrated by someone I knew, perhaps hiding in the hallway.
“Uh, yeah,” I said with a questioning smile, “what’s going on?”
She led me back into the infusion rooms and there she introduced me to a guy I’d never met before. Not for a minute thinking I wasn’t being put on, I engaged him in polite banter. It turns out Steve, the guy’s name, had recovered from the same disease I did, had gone through the Beaumont ward months after me and was told continually that he and I were a lot alike in our attitudes and the ways we faced down cancer. Apparently he checked me out online, picked up my book and enjoyed the read.
“It made me laugh and I love your writing, but it didn’t have anything about cancer in it,” he told me.
I explained that it was written a few years ago and that most certainly there’d be a book about my leukemia experiences, (isn’t that right publishers?). We shared some stories about our mutual recoveries; I told him how cool it was to be recognized and that he won the award for being the first to randomly do that. Then we parted. For the rest of the day I told everyone I knew about the cool encounter.
I realized though, that there was another amazing incident surrounding my first book. On my computer desktop, for almost two years now, there’s been a photo thumbnail of me and Jane. If ego gratification were a drug, Jane would have to be one of my dealers. She lives down in North Carolina near my in-laws and ordered my book right when it came out, (I owe a marketing debt to Bill and Judy, Marci’s parents). As the story goes, she received the book one afternoon and commenced reading. Some of the facts are fuzzy, but I’m told it was a real page-turner for her and she subsequently stayed up all night reading the thing.
There are no adequate phrases to describe the mixture of pride and responsibility hearing such an honor. I couldn’t actually believe that something I typed up, mostly lying around the house in sweats, had resonated so much with a woman I’d never met down south.
I made sure when I visited my in-laws for their anniversary party, to seek out Jane and tell her how much her story meant to me.
So don’t worry. As much as it may sound wonderful cavorting with the fabulous people of the world and rubbing elbows with the glitterati, there’s nothing more amazing than hearing your work brightened, enlightened or even frightened a regular person, just like me.