I used to travel for my job and met many people on my journey who had stories to tell. Some were writers, others readers, but all contributed to the love I have for writing.
Just recently, I shared the premise of hope with my new novel, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance with a wonderful lady who brought me to tears with the story of her sister's abuse by an uncle. She said she had felt so helpless, as she was unable to protect her sister even though she had found out about it years after it had happened. She was anxious to read about the hope I had found in my life. I was very moved by how the subject of my book had affected her.
Last week, I sat next to a veteran in a coffee shop who got choked up when I read him one of my favorite writings, called Passage. It's the story of a soldier I saw taken from a plane in a coffin.
Last year in Alaska, I went to a convention that highlighted many different indigenous Alaskan crafts. There, in a corner, was an old man with a stack of books in front of him. When I approached him, he smiled so brightly I just had to stop. I picked up his book and realized he was one of our nation's last living Code Talkers, one of the bi-lingual Navajo Indians recruited by the US Marine Corps in WWII to pass secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications networks using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service was valuable because it enhanced the communications security of vital front line operations during World War II. (Wikipedia)
I thumbed through the book, put it down and then left. Just outside the door, I realized that I might be walking away from history and worse yet, a fellow writer, without offering some form of support. About two years earlier, I had been in Albuquerque and had bought a book that I had signed by seven Code Talkers, so I knew the value of preserving this history.
Remembering the joyous time I had spent with the old Navajo's in New Mexico, I walked back into the convention center, bought the book and had the man autograph it for me. Just $15.00. The author shook my hand so many times my arm almost fell off. He smiled widely as I thanked him for his service and shared one more story from his past. He was weeping when we parted. Recently, I heard that the last of the WWII Code Talkers, Chester Nez, had died in Albuquerque. It made me recall my Alaskan visit and the joy I shared with one of Nez's fellow soldiers, all because of stopping to listen to his story and supporting him by buying a book.
I don't know what my purpose here on earth is, but somehow, some way, God is allowing me to use my writing as a way to encourage others.
As writers, we are never alone. There are thousands of people that have a dream of sharing their story. They just need a little encouragement.
I have been the recipient of the wisdom of writing friends who have offered advice, patted me on the back and helped me network in order that I might find my way. Now it’s my turn and maybe, even yours.
Pass on a compliment, an honest Amazon book review or buy a book from someone you might never have met. When you make it big, don’t forget those out there that took the time to listen to your stories. Offer to do some speaking for free to libraries and small groups that don’t have the funds to bring in top names. In other words, encourage writers where you can and don’t forget to try and make the same difference others made with you. I’m making it a practice to pass it on!