One of the perks of publishing a book is meeting people you would probably never otherwise meet. My new friend Sherry, a talented writer whom I met at an event where I spoke last year, asked me to speak to a group of professional, fundraising women in La Habra.
So last night I drove north—sometimes crept--on various freeways and streets, past Disneyland, past Angel Stadium.
The din of the group flowed onto the sidewalk as I headed up the walk to the front door.
The group crowded in the living room and kitchen of a member’s home. There were prominent women in the community—some whose families had streets named after them.
And they wanted to hear what I had to say. Sometimes, when I’m speaking to certain groups, I have a sort of out-of-body experience. I flash back to being lil Barb who almost quit high school, who, for a time, circled the drain, who, for a time, had friends who were bad to the bone, getting arrested, being sucked down the drain.
And somehow I bypassed—ahem, was plucked?—away, rescued from the nowhere path I was on, from that sort of life. (Was it grace or my Guardian Angel? Was it serendipitous? I tend to go with grace...) And somehow I made something of myself. Something more than what I was headed for, anyway, even if I feel I still have a ways to go.
One of the best parts of speaking to groups is inspiring people to follow a dream, whatever that dream may be. It sounds so hokey, so corny, and yet, it’s hard to figure out what the point of it all is without dreams and aspirations, without something to aspire to, however simple. Because even if I never move any further along my path, never attain that which I wish to attain, what I’ve been given is more than I ever expected I’d have, and I'm at a better place than I expected at my lowest point.
And now, the next morning, at Starbucks, as I write this (and save as a Word doc to upload later), as I drink white tea bought using the gift card that the group gave me, a sweet token for coming to speak, I feel grateful for small kindnesses, and large. New friends, the chance to inspire, gift cards—all perks of publishing a book. Thanks, Sherry….