Some years ago, I was 11 years old and attending the Illinois Young Authors Conference. After the opening Q and A panel, the students had the opportunity to get their books signed and speak with the authors.
Leanne Ellis, one of the authors, had interested me, particularly during the panel. When answering questions she was lively and warm and imaginative. So I picked up a copy of her book and took it over to be signed.
I trembled with excitement all the way up the signing line, I had only met authors (The people who make magic happen) a couple of times before, and I could still hardly believe it.
After a ‘hello’ once I reached the front of the line I said right away “I’m a writer too!”
“Well of course you are!” Leanne said. “This is the young authors’ conference after all!”
I nodded and then launched into a (rather long-winded) explanation of my work in progress at the time. Leanne looked straight at me, and nodded and listened – really listened! – even though I was holding up the line.
During my explanation, her daughter came over and tried to ask her a question.
“Hold on a minute,” Leanne said to her daughter, putting up a hand. “This is interesting.”
This. Is. Interesting.
A really truly author thought my story was interesting. She was really listening to and prioritizing, what I had to say, as if it was really truly important and serious and not just some childish fantasy.
I finished my explanation. She signed my book, and she made some comments about my story, I don’t remember what exactly, something like “that reminds me of so-and-so book. Have you ever read that?” Something that made it clear she had listened and thought about what I had said.
Then she handed me the book back and said.
“It was great to meet you! When you publish that book, let me know.”
I nodded, smiled, and left.
Inside the book, she had written “To Millie, a fellow author who is AWESOME! Keep writing!”
Well of course you are!
Hold on a minute, this is interesting.
When you publish that book, let me know.
A fellow author.
It’s funny how such simple words can make your heart sing.
Someday I hope I can do the same as Leanne Ellis. I can look straight at a child who is bursting with dreams, and listen, really truly listen, and really truly care. And if anyone tries to interrupt, I’ll put up my hand and I’ll say:
“Hold on a minute, this is interesting.”
docendo disco, scribendo cogito,
– Millie Florence