Happy Friday, and a happy official ending to the first full week of 2016. It’s been a busier one than I would have liked, especially after spending the two weeks of Christmastide doing virtually nothing and sleeping until 9 or 10 each morning. But we hit the ground running on Monday, and haven’t stopped since.
Amidst rehearsals and meetings and doctor appointments this week, there was a lovely oasis of time on Tuesday evening when I was invited to attend a book club meeting as the “guest author.” A friend of mine had given the members of her book club a copy of Life In General as an early Christmas gift, and they had read the book as their December selection. My friend Kathy's home exuded the same warmth and charm that she does in person, and her friends were lively, gracious, and funny. We spent a lot of time talking about their lives, and I marveled again at the way we are all connected. Although each of our personalities was very different, our life stories intersected: there were tales of difficulties with aging relatives; of being (and raising) only children; of adult offspring living far from home; of the joys of being a grandparent; of the pain of loss. We talked about jobs and clearing clutter and lifestyle changes to accommodate age. We shared our most important daily rituals (morning coffee! reading!) We were amazed at the things we had in common.
After everyone left, Kathy said she hoped I didn’t mind that we hadn’t spent very much time discussing the book itself.
“But we did discuss the book,” I answered. “My book is really about connecting with other people by sharing stories of our lives. And that’s definitely what we’ve been doing here.”
In a world where people seem ever more fearful and angry, where our relationships with each other are easily fractured and fragmented, there is value in simply spending an evening sharing stories - laughing and crying together, strengthening the connections that bind us together as women and human beings.
That’s been the surprise benefit of publishing my book a year ago and putting my "Life In General" into the hands of others. Where I was once a solitary woman who sometimes felt alone in the world, the women who have read Life In General and shared their similar stories with me have become a wide network of “sisters” with whom I feel connected and comforted.
It was a good reminder in this first week of 2016. Whatever this year holds in store, whatever paths I will walk in the remaining 51 weeks, I won’t walk alone.
*If you’d like to share Life In General with your book club and spend an evening connecting through shared stories, I can facilitate obtaining books at a reduced price. Simply contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to attend your meeting, in person or via Skype. There is also a new, free Reader’s Guide with discussion questions available.