Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At Your Service

Once upon a time at a booksigning, a woman came up to me, star-struck and shaking, to ask if she could have a picture with me, a "famous author." To put her at ease, I made small talk and asked her what she did for a living. She said she was an emergency nurse. I felt about two inches tall.

As a writer, sometimes I feel like I don't have a "decent" job. I'm certainly not offering as vital a service to the world as, say, a policeman, or a farmer, or that emergency nurse. I'm not saving lives, feeding the homeless, or contributing to world peace. I don't fix cars, teach Kindergarten, or even clean your house.

What I do--play with make-believe characters in my head and write down their fictional adventures--sometimes seems completely self-indulgent and unimportant to me, fluffy and meaningless and irrelevant.

And yet...

Every now and then, I get a letter from a fan, telling me how one of my books kept her up all night or made her laugh out loud or touched her heart. It's then I realize I AM providing a valuable service.

Sometimes I'm the romantic escape for a lonely soul. Sometimes I'm the sliver of sunshine through prison bars. Sometimes I'm the relief from a day of suffering or distraction from a night of sleeplessness. Sometimes I'm simply the promise of a happy ending.

Perhaps the most touching story a reader ever told me was that when her mother lay dying in the hospital, the last book she chose to read was mine, because it transported her far away from her pain. Stories like that make me realize the true power and significance of what I do.

So while I can't do your taxes, I won't walk your dog, and I'm not going to invent a cure for cancer any time soon, if your heart needs healing, I'm here for you.

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008


Diana Holquist said...

Who's gonna walk my dog? Shoot. Guess I"ll just let him out the back and settle down on the couch with Danger's Kiss.

I gotta tell you, Sarah, my dog's pretty upset with you!

:- )


Anonymous said...

Great post, Sarah! Books are like breathing to me.