The Midwest leg of my book tour is complete. We caught a glorious Midwest fall, ablaze with colorful hardwoods stretched across the prairie like the seams of a riotous quilt; enjoyed the gentle hills of river towns; joyously greeted our old friends, the lions at the Art Institute; and tramped through the woods and by some of the hundred lakes of Steuben County, Indiana. Along the way, I learned a few things.
1. I really do have the best friends in the world.
I always suspected it, but the way my chosen family pulled out all the stops for me, arranging, hosting, easing my way through a difficult schedule, confirmed it. I can never thank them enough.
2. My friends have the best friends in the world.
It’s one thing when your friends all read your novel and declare it the best collection of words since Virginia Woolf. It’s a whole other thing when their friends read it and show up and tell you how much they enjoyed it. Is this not the central heart of the book industry, to have your book passed from friend to friend? Overwhelming at times, but a real pleasure. Now they’re my friends, too!
3. I still love talking to students. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess. Seeing the future sitting right in front of you and having the opportunity to encourage them is surely one of the most important tasks one can have. What amazes me is how the young ones always end up cheering me on. The students at Trine University were true to this ancient calling. Here is a big shout-out to them!
4. “So when is your next novel coming out?” must be the best thing one could ever hear.
I don’t know the answer, but, yes, there are two more books in the works, and your saying it makes me work harder.
My tour ended in Atlanta at the home of my beloved friend from high school, Carolyn Padgett Guy, with our other high school friends, Debby Greenway Misenheimer and Donna Kirkpatrick Thomas, also present, and our dear chum Ophelia Jane Robertson Crain listening in via Skype (Carolyn’s newer friends are so envious that we are still friends, and, yes, I know how lucky I am). This occasion proved all my points above. Good friends, old and new, people still learning, whatever their age (I’m looking at you, Jeannie, and also at myself), and those magic words “awaiting your next” really do make all the traveling, hurrying, planning, and nervous conniptions worth while.
Here’s some scenes form the last part of this leg of my journey:
In the uncaptioned photos above due to a failure of my coding ability, are Mac, Donna, Debby, and Sue, in the first photo, and my beloved sister-in-law, Phyllis, surrounded by her wonderful daughters, Kim and Michelle, and me.
What a wonderful group, and a marvelous party! Thank you, Carolyn!