This week’s topic was one that I proposed: “What are the nicest or most inspiring things people have said or written about your writing? How did it affect you?”
When I first started writing and blogging, I had a few friends who followed my blog and some actually commented. One of my scrapbook friends particularly loved a post I wrote describing the peacefulness I felt as I walked along the shore of a nearby lake during a weekend retreat. She told me that my words brought back the fun and camaraderie we felt during our time together. Others had nice things to say about the short stories I submitted to various online magazines. Those tributes reaffirmed my goal of finishing my novel and getting it published.
It was a few years after that before I finally celebrated the publication of my first book. I kept busy, writing and learning the craft through workshops offered by local writing groups. My first full-length novel was The Samurai’s Garden. This was the book of my heart, a story about a former samurai soldier trying to find his way during the turbulent years after the feudal system gave way to western ideas, and the samurai class was abolished. It took about seven years from the time I first started the story until its publication. But when it was released, there wasn’t a lot of excitement around here. Only one of my five children read it. I’m not sure if anyone else related to me has, and frankly, I’m not surprised. Japanese history isn’t exactly something they’re into. But most of the reviews I received for that book have been good, and I’m grateful.
One reviewer went far beyond the usual observations of story line, character development, and editing. When I saw it, I took a screenshot and saved it, as authors and reviewers have from time to time complained of reviews disappearing. Every now and then I’ll pull it out and read it again, because it is truly special.
I have no idea who this person is, but I am truly thankful he or she took the time to leave this review. These words have inspired me to keep working through dry periods when I can’t seem to string a sentence together. They reaffirm my belief that the stories we write have the power to transport the reader into new and fascinating worlds, and to have empathy for those who are different from us.
These are turbulent times. But words can take us away to better places, if only for a short while. It truly warmed my heart to know that I did this for one reader.