Everyone likes a little recognition every now and then. It might be a simple compliment from your boss, thanking you for your hard work on a difficult project or your husband showing his appreciation for making his cup of coffee every morning. It could be larger, and you receive an award in your field, such as being recognized as the top sales manager of the month or being named your school’s teacher of the year.
People don’t have to receive recognition to survive—but it does help them to thrive. As a former teacher, my high school encouraged graduating seniors to write a letter of thanks to a teacher who’d meant something to them. I can’t tell you how much reading one of those handwritten notes did for me. I was like a wilting flower at the end of the year, barely hanging on, and then reading a few treasured lines of praise would perk me up and make me bloom like there was no tomorrow.
I’ve always been a huge fan of watching the Oscars, and I remember the year Sally Field won her 2nd Best Actress award for Places in the Heart. She’d started on TV and had been typecast as The Girl Next Door. It had taken years to break away from that image and be offered meatier roles. She’d won her 1st Oscar in 1979 for Norma Rae, and then in 1984 the second followed. In her speech, she said:
Oh, Benton, what you did for me; you changed my life, truly. This means so much more to me this time. I don’t know why. I think the first time I hardly felt it because it was all so new. I owe a lot to the cast, to my players, to Lindsay and John and Danny and Ed and Amy and my little friends Gennie and Yankton. I owe a lot to my family for holding me together and loving me and having patience with this obsession of me. But I want to say thank you to you. I haven’t had an orthodox career and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me! Thank you.
Sally really got razzed over the “you like me” part—but I understand where she was coming from. She was excited to be acknowledged for her work. She was in a room of her peers and had just been recognized for her performance over acting stalwarts such as Jane Fonda and Jill Clayburgh. It was a moment to shine and take in the appreciation for a job well done.
I’m about to have one of those moments—albeit on a much smaller scale. As an author, I realize I’ll never be next to John Grisham on the New York Times best seller list. I’m fine with that. I just want to tell my stories and hope that I connect with a few readers out there who are touched by what I write and enjoy the time they spend with the characters I’ve created.
So what’s the “big” moment in my little author universe?
My book club chose MY book to read & discuss in February! My friend Jet, who’s been a huge supporter of my career, selected my 3rd book, A Game of Chance, for the Bookworms to dissect. We read everything from non-fiction (The Glass Castle) to fiction (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to Love in the Time of Cholera). I’m honored and excited to chat about my book with this group of funny, intelligent women. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay. I haven’t always liked every selection we’ve read, but I’ve gone to the group and truly enjoyed the discussion we’ve had.
Who knows what they’ll ask me? Maybe they’ll want to know where I got the idea for the plot or if I based the characters on people I know. Maybe they’ll ask about my research (the book is set in the 1870s in San Francisco). Maybe we’ll simply talk about how certain events are circular in nature and of character growth and relationships.
Whatever we discuss will be thrilling to me. I’m looking at this as a joyful celebration of one of my historical romances. So here’s to a great discussion come February 11th!
And here’s Jet with me at a book signing at our local women’s club holiday luncheon this past December. Special shout-out to Jet for all her support!