Each Wednesday (or thereabouts) I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing. Sometimes I mix up the order, just to keep you on your toes.
Care to join me?
A few months ago, a representative for an author contacted me asking if I would like to receive a copy of a new book release. The publicist said I could have an electronic or hard copy.
“Sure!” I agreed. The book sounded interesting, so I was sure I’d find some positive things to say about it. “Could I have both? That way I could quickly read the electronic copy myself and then arrange for a giveaway of the hard copy on my blog.” I told her I felt that my readers fit the author’s target demographic perfectly.
The publicist thought that was a great idea, so I sent my mailing address. She sent me via e-mail a file that was, presumably, an electronic copy of the book. But when I opened the file, it was not: it was about five pages of materials related to the book, but not the book. I wrote a pleasant note explaining the file mix-up but never heard back; they neither replied nor sent a replacement file. What’s more, they never sent a hard copy of the book.
The book went on to become a great success, so my few words of support would not have made much difference. I assume that the publicist arrived at the same conclusion—why bother sending out a free book when already so many people are paying real money for it?
I understand that business decision, but the experience left me feeling very small and insignificant. And compared with the author of that book, I am small and insignificant, but why rub it in?
Numerous deadlines loom.
Sharing our stories can bind us together. I haven’t landed precisely on the best principles to follow in telling stories publicly, but I experienced this week how friendships can deepen when we risk privately sharing the things we’ve locked deep inside our hearts for safekeeping.
The trouble with long-term safekeeping is this: silently storing all of it away like that is often not safe at all. Sometimes the best decision is to gently and honestly tell the stories—the truth—of our lives. Though opening up is not without risk, we may find life, intimacy, trust, and freedom.
One afternoon last spring, I was walking across the soccer fields with my eldest daughter.
“Mom,” she began, “I have a question. I’ve seen kids in public schools and private schools wearing sweatshirts with ‘2012 Seniors’ printed on the back. Have you seen them?”
“Well, I wondered if it would be possible to have something like that next year.”
She’s homeschooled, you see, so it’s not like we could just show up at the school office, plunk down twenty bucks for a 2013 Seniors school shirt, and be done with it. If we are interested in something, we have to make it happen.
“I don’t see why not,” I said. “You and your sister could create some logo designs for our homeschool co-op and add the 2013 Seniors thing as an option. We’ll have to phone around to find places that print shirts and get prices. Then we’d have to be sure the co-op leadership would agree to it. It’ll take several steps, but I think it could be done.”
Her face lit up. “Cool!”
Throughout summer, I completely forgot about it. Then, about a week before school began, that scene on the soccer field back in April flashed across my mind and I realized we’d better hop on it. Next thing you know, my artistic daughters designed two or three co-op logos for the front, and I phoned some local companies to get quotes for affordable silkscreening. We decided to go with The Art Press.
The girls gained approval from the co-op leadership, presented the designs for a vote, prepped the winning design for silkscreening, selected the colors, finalized placement for names and that ever-important 2013 Seniors print for the few who wanted it (non-Seniors chose to have a name/nickname printed on the back…or left it blank).
For just under two weeks, the co-op members could make selections and pay through a secure ordering page online (one of many reasons I’m thrilled with this company’s great work is because their ordering system, mySHIRTsize, made collecting group orders a snap). The Art Press scrambled to fulfill the orders—over twice as many as we’d expected.
What a delight to pass everything out this week! The shirts were a big success and my daughter got her wish…by making it happen.
I awoke to a headache this morning, so I didn’t feel like wearing anything cute or slapping on makeup. I barely brushed my hair before pulling on my new co-op hoodie and heading out with my son for his cello lesson. On the way home, I drove past the library to drop off a book. My son asked to go in. Due to my haggard appearance, I hesitated. Then, when he begged to check out books, I reluctantly agreed. Who doesn’t want to support an 11-year-old boy’s reading habit? “Okay, but let’s not take too long. I look terrible,” I said. “I hope I don’t see anyone I know.”
“It’s okay,” my son assured me. “I’ll only take a couple of minutes.”
The instant we entered the lobby, I spotted a local news cameraman setting up a shot.
I can’t explain why—blogging instinct, perhaps?—but I pulled out my camera and snapped some photos of him (didn’t take time to think through lighting, composition or white balance, however). I justified my intrusion by figuring if he feels comfortable shooting footage of people in a public place, he should realize how it feels to have the camera turned on him in the same setting.
He looked at me with surprise.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “Controversy at the library?”
“No, no. It’s all good. You can ask Kevin.” He gestured toward the stacks, but I only saw a mom rounding the corner with her young child. Instead of hunting down the reporter, I simply headed to another part of the library, avoiding the cameraman’s lens.
Everywhere I turned, he was setting up for another shot from another angle. As my son and I checked out our books, I couldn’t resist snapping one final shot of him, since he was standing right there. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye as soon as he heard the loud ka-chunk of my Canon’s shutter/mirror. I grinned big. He nodded slightly and smiled.
Then my son and I skedaddled out of there before he turned his focus on us where we stood at the electronic checkout. Although I don’t think I should have worried. I believe that man and I held a tacit agreement that we both prefer to work quietly behind the lens, rather than be caught in front of it.
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