You know, a well-known writer (whose name escapes me at the moment, although it may have been Stephen King) once said that, "a writer's fame is the best kind. You're anonymous enough to walk the streets unhindered, but famous enough to still get a good seat at a restaurant." Okay, I may have paraphrased here... in fact, I'm sure of it. Anyway, the point I guess I'm trying to make is how so many of us are so busy writing that we sometimes forget that there are people out there that actually read what we write. I'd like to introduce a personal experience as a case in point...
The other day as I was heading to the commuter railroad on my way home (Long Island Railroad), a young lady called to me. I didn't know her but I saw her reach down and pick up a black bookbag. Since I work for the city transit agency and I wear my I.D. around my neck, I assumed that she was going to hand me someone's lost bookbag (this happens all too often). Anyway, when I approach her she surprises me by pulling a copy of my novel from the aforementioned backpack! She points to my photo on the back and asks, "Is this you?" I laughed awkwardly and replied yes. She then said, Oh my God! I'm reading your book and it's awsome! AWESOME! I love it!"
Wow. I was surprised, elated, and chagrinned, all at the same time. I mumbled a thanks and said something about having to catch my train. As I was leaving I called out another thank you and just made my train.
I have to admit that I was caught off-guard. I rarely think about whose reading my novel or stories and I was totally unprepared for this young lady's enthusiastic response to having read it. Perhaps we as writers should occasionally emerge from our self-imposed isolations and think about those that are actually rading what we are writing or have already written, and maybe even practice a little bow, curtsey, hardy thank you, or even a wise nod to show our appreciation. I know I will.