The first book signing event reminded me of a graduation, the culmination of many hours and years of hard work. It was a community celebration–the coming out party for my new book. It came about through amazing press coverage and the dedication of the senior college hosting the event. I had no idea what to expect. It is not easy to put yourself in the public eye, but it is not about yourself. It is about the community and how they treat you that is special. It becomes about how you can make a difference. It is a wonderful collaboration of friends from all walks of my life. Neighbors, former students, teachers, and people touched in some way by a kind gesture, remark, or smile.
It is the first time for me to go public with something I have created. It is the first time for friends to see my book. It is a strange feeling. A little bit of you is being shared to give an example to help others along the way. Despite the work and many steps that go into publishing a book, it is worth it to tell this message to others, and it is rewarding.
For me I had no examples to follow. I did not grow up with authors or writers as parents. I did not intend to write a book and do not consider myself an author. I simply had something to share and somehow it came to life. I wrote a manuscript because I had a story to tell and a legacy to pass on to my children and grandchildren.
Another reason became evident at the book signing. I was also doing this for all my former students as an example that if I can do this, you can too, if you so desire. I spent many years in an elementary classroom teaching children and caring about them as my extended family. It is about leading by example and taking one step at a time. You must believe in yourself when others doubt you, persevere when others give up, and make your dreams come true.
I reminded myself that I am here because so many people helped me along the way. They may not have been visibly sitting in seats in the audience but I know they were there praising me, supporting me, and pushing me to higher goals. My mother, my greatest mentor, would not be as surprised as me but genuinely happy. My guides around the world who helped me climb and believed we would make it. Runners who were out there training and offered me a smile or a wave as I ran by them were in my thoughts. Families who make sacrifices every day to reach their goals were in my heart. As nervous and excited as I was to be there on that special night, it was not about me, it was about all those who made it possible for me. It was a night to remember.
-June 17, 2014