Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Taste of Gratitude

This is my grand daughter Ashland Skye on her first visit to Apple Hill in northern California--a rich fall tradition replete with the fruits of harvest: pie, jam, turnovers, tarts, sauce . . . plus arts, crafts, tractors, animals and more. But mostly apples, dozens of varieties (Golden Delicious, MacIntosh, Fuji) in colors from red to green to yellow. At barely 6 months old, this is the first time Ashland has seen so many apples, and the last year she'll be unequipped to bite into one--no teeth. Teeth are required to fully enjoy a bite of crispy, crunchy apple; we know that from personal experience as well as the full-spectrum of denture adhesive TV commercials! So what do apples and Polident have to do with gratitude?
Well . . .

Today is the first of October, my favorite month of my very favorite season, autumn. I'm nostalgic for northern California fall mornings with crisp temperatures that allow you to "see your breath", wisps of "tule fog," the scent of woodsmoke, crunch of leaves underfoot in hues of flame red, orange, yellow, burgundy. And, though it's still weeks away, I'm thinking of Thanksgiving--not so much the turkey and trimmings, but the actual giving of thanks. An "attitude of gratitude," if you will. Since my return from the amazing American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver, I've been humbled at being part of such a wonderful writing community--and most grateful for our readers. Yes, you!

Since I began this new writing journey--only 18 months ago--you readers have incredibly warm and welcoming. And your notes have encouraged me over and over. With lines like these:

"I will be going to college a year from now to become a registered nurse, and you have really inspired me . . . "

" I felt that I was right there looking at the mountains and the daffodils as well as the tragedy and triumph of the ER."

"It hit a note in my own walk in faith . . . "

"I am a hopeless, ER, Grey's fanatic... So your book caught my eye immediately. "

"I really like the idea of Faith QD and have been thinking/praying about starting it at my hospital . . ."

"Thank you for writing a great book, with the medical drama under God's care. "

"I am a registered nurse also, with my specialty being in pediatric cardiology. The opening scene of Critical Care just struck me so . . ."

"Great story of what happens when you have enduring faith. "

"I was able to relate to both Sarah and Claire as they struggled to make sense of where life was taking them. "

"Thank you for using this gift to bless your readers and glorify God."

"What an awesome book! What an awesome doctor! (smile) "

I have been humbled over and over by such gracious notes, sometimes laughing aloud, many times choking up--always with a heart full of gratitude. Because my intent, from the beginning of this journey, was to reach out via my writing and offer both entertainment and encouragment. Your kind responses let me know that I'm doing that. They keep me writing.

In my chats with other authors at the conference in Denver, the topic invariably turned to the subject of readers--how grateful we are for them. Keynote speaker and bestselling author Debbie Macomber spoke the truth when she said, "To quit {writing} would mean losing a piece of my soul." My head was bobbing up and down in agreement, absolutely. Writers write. But it goes further than that. Being able to connect with readers, use whatever gifts we've been given to offer stories of hope is the very best part. And that can't happen without you.

Writers need readers
. . . like . . . my baby grand daughter needs teeth to fully enjoy that first autumn-crisp apple!

So THANK YOU for reading my work, encouraging me to write more, taking the time to send these great notes , being there. You're the best!

Now, on to the big questions: Pie--what's your favorite? Apple, pumpkin . . . or?


Anonymous said...

I am blessed to be one of your many readers! I loved your book (and you) from the very beginning. I can't wait to read more and see what God has planned for the future.

Unknown said...

Oh my stars your granddaughter is so precious. What a cutie pie! Those cheeks just begged to be pinched.:-) Seeing those apples makes me want a nice slice of apple pie (and I'm not even a pie person) with a scope of vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Unknown said...

That pic is too precious! And I love her name. Ashland Skye... beautiful!

I think most of us would write with or without readers. We wrote before anyone read us, and we'd probably write even if they all hightailed it! But they're definitely one of the biggest and bestest blessings of the writing life. Long live readers!

As for pie... hard to beat strawberry!

CandaceCalvert said...

Bridget--I feel the same way, right down to when I get to read your first book cover to cover! :-)

CandaceCalvert said...

Thank you, Sharon--I just wish I lived closer. So tough!
And I'm with you--never think of pie until see all those fall photos, then I'm imagining apple, pumpkin and pecan!

CandaceCalvert said...

K.M.--thank you. She's named after the city Ashland Oregon where her parents went to college, famous for their summer Shakespeare festivals. Of course, I'll now think the city was named after HER! ;-)

We'd write, absolutely. But isn't it the BEST when someone "gets" exactly what you were trying to convey--I love that.

Aside from the city of Ashland, Oregon also has wonderful strawberries!