Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Reach of a Book

by Leann

I understand the power of a book from my own childhood experience as an avid reader. I needed to escape and I was given the chance time after time. When I decided to become a writer I hoped I could offer the same escapism. But I had no idea what gifts would come back to me.

The first "wow" moment was after I'd written a few Yellow Rose books. If you haven't read any, they are about an "adoption P.I." Now, this was before there was a reality show about just such a person on cable TV. Anyway, a woman wrote to me, a woman who lived in Texas and not very far from me. I do research for my books (yes, even for a cozy!!) and this woman read what I had written about the Texas Adoption Registry. Texas is a closed adoption state--one of the few left in the country, I might add. Adoption records can only be unsealed by court order. You need lawyers and you need money if you want to find birth parents. The registry was created to make things a little bit easier for folks on a birth family quest. A person who gave up a child can register, give as much information about the adoption as they want. But they can only be reunited IF the child also registers. In other words, a reunion has to be by mutual agreement and lots of paperwork.

This woman who wrote had been searching for her mother for years, but didn't have the money or the resources to find her. She learned about the registry through one of my books and immediately sent in her information. I wish this was happy-happy story. It's a happy-bittersweet story. The woman's mother had registered and she, too, had been searching for her daughter for years. She died before the woman who wrote to me could find her. But this woman did find some peace. Her mother had wanted to find her--and that meant so much to this reader.

I received an email this week about another something that came from my imagination and on to the page--quilts for cats. I had no idea if quilts like this were out there and available for purchase, but it sounded like a good idea considering how much my cats love to lie on the quilts I make. This particular email brought tears to my eyes, just like the other story did. A woman had just had her 17 year old cat put down. But the vet sent "Meow" back home to be buried wrapped in a small quilt. This woman was so touched by this that she wrote to me. She'd read my books and knew about my quilts for cats. She wanted to make them herself to donate to her vet and wondered about size and technique. We exchanged some information and she wrote to me a few days later to say she's already made some and was ready to give them to the vet. There is comfort in a quilt in more ways than I thought. Just as there is comfort in a book.

What about you? What have books done for you in some unexpected way?