At 4:52 a.m. my Facebook messenger announced a message. “Why are you awake?” was the inquiry. I hesitated to respond initially, with all the security breaches recently, but for some reason I knew the sender was safe. The quick answer is because I work two jobs today, and will put in about 13 hours when it’s all said and done. It was time to get up, get showered, drink coffee, and perform the morning rituals. The complete answer includes that after age fifty, sleep becomes less and less, regardless of how tired I am or how much I really want it. It also stands to reason that as a writer, my creative time seems to be in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning and I was probably unable to shut my brain off. Stay on the train, we’ll get back to my writing later.
I recognized the sender as an old high school acquaintance. She was an acquaintance because really we just knew each other by default through a couple of really good friends. I don’t recall who friended who, and it’s not important. Our conversation was light and I knew that Gail Lynn had recently lost her husband, and that was probably the reason she was awake. We continued to chat for a few moments, and before long she announced that I probably didn’t know who she was. She identified her hometown. I told her that I knew exactly who she was, that we had mutual friends in high school. She seemed baffled. Then she talked about my blog. It occurred to me that she really didn’t know who I was, but that she followed my blog. She was a fan. She apologized for not remembering me from high school….no big deal, no harm done. I was more delighted that I was speaking to a bonafide fan. She wasn’t a friend who was forced to read my blog, or some nosy neighbor, she was a real fan and enjoyed reading it.
Before long, I asked her if I could write about her today. “Oh, my sad story, sure,” she said. Nooooooo….not your sad story. Your good story. You shined a positive light on my morning without even realizing it. There is no doubt you have a very sad story to tell, but that is YOUR story, not mine. I know time heals and I won’t tell you how to grieve. Stay on the train…
Last weekend, I met my writing hero/mentor Mitch Albom. He was doing a book signing at Adrian College and I saw a flyer in a small, obscure wine and cheese shop in Tecumseh. I had to purchase a ticket for the event, which included a talk, the latest book, getting it signed and a photo if you wanted one. There were a lot of people there. It was a glorious moment for me and I was like a teenager meeting a rock idol. One of the things Mitch talked about (see how we’re on a first name basis now?) was how we are all connected. How one event triggers the next, and the next, and the next to how we end up in the here and now. One small event can trigger a chain reaction that can lead to a much bigger event in your life, or perhaps a more memorable one. But all the events are important, every last one of them.
The train keeps a rollin….stay on it…..
I’ve had a recurring dream the last week or so. Sometimes I have it twice in the same night. It’s not bad or anything, actually I think it might be the book I’ve been wanting to write. I was awake in my bed when that message came in, and it created so many writing prompts in my head that I now feel like I have a starting point. I had been procrastinating blogging because I was caught up in finals at school and a busy work schedule through this week. I figured I’d get to it when I got to it and that starting the novel was probably more important. However, Gail Lynn, your little message this morning prompted not only a blog, but some really great material for the book. One little event led to another, and another, and another and before you know it, you’re showing up at my book signing and asking “remember me?” and guess what? Yes, of course I remember you. I won’t be thinking you’re that woman from high school who lost her husband, I’ll be thinking you’re that fan of mine who wondered why I, too, was up at 4:52 a.m. that prompted a whole slew of stuff for my book. And when you see 4:52 a.m. in the book, you’ll know it was all about you. And that one little moment. Sure, I’ll embellish. Maybe I won’t even mention you by name. But you’ll know. And I’ll know.
Because we are all connected, my friend.