About 18 months ago, I read an article by Deanna Fei, My Baby and AOL's Bottom Line. It's well-written and sharp but something about the author's tone made me send a message to the author.
Now, I never leave comments in the combox unless it is a blogger I know or I'm entering to win something. And I never, ever, ever message author's I don't know. ComBoxes tend to make me weep for humanity, especially when it comes to articles that might be controversial. As for e-mailing authors... eh. I leave great Amazon reviews. I tell everyone about their books. I favorite them on Goodreads. But I don't e-mail them because I don't want to seem like some pre-teen fangirl even if I am totally fangirling inside.
Yet I did. I have a vague notion of what I said, something about how she is not alone in her feelings. I e-mailed her, I received a short note in reply and that was that.
Until last week, about 18 months after I read the article. I received an e-mail from Fei thanking me for my comment and how it was one of many that inspired her to write a book, Girl In Glass (due in July) about her experiences. A few e-mails later (!!! because who am I kidding, I was sitting there with a dumb grin on my face thinking, "THIS IS SO COOL!") she told me that my initial e-mail to her is quoted in her book! It's anonymous, of course, but still!!!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get paid nothing. My name's not even in there. BUT. PEOPLE! A real live, honest to goodness writer- like, she's written another novel! She make a living writing!- said that something I (yeah, yeah, yeah, and others) inspired her next work. At swanky dinner parties (that I never attend), I'll be able to toss my hair, casually sip my wine and just happen to say, "You know, when I was quoted by/inspired an author..." Years from now, I'll pull the book off my shelves and show my grandchildren where I am (not) mentioned in a book.
Okay, yes, I am a complete goober. I'm aware this is interesting and super cool to only me. I am also aware that I might be mildly in awe of anyone who is published because I know how long, hard and slogging the process is. But it's funny, you know, how having a preterm infant puts everyone on equal footing: a housewife and swim coach with four children in the suburbs of the midwest suddenly has something in common with a writer in NYC, all because of an intensive care unit. I have a feeling we could sit down over tea (or KC BBQ or, even better, NY bagels piled with cream cheese or butter) and not run out of things to talk about. We have a common ground in our children, their early beginnings and our struggles. It seems we both have a passion for educating people about pre-term infants and everything that it entails, during the NICU and after.
You know what the best thing about this is, though? My words made someone feel better. I never know if reaching out to someone is going to be well received, especially when her daughter was born much earlier than my son. Yet it did and, to me, that's better than any (not) mention in a book.