I met M for coffee Sunday, he had finished my memoir, and I wanted to hear in person what he thought. Two weeks prior I received his text.
“The mail brings good things today,” a picture of the book in his hands.
I was thrilled that he had ordered it- such a nice surprise, I didn’t think men would want to read my book, I believed my “audience” was women. For a nanosecond, I wondered if M was being nice or if he wanted to read it. “Should I have bought him a copy?”
Get over it Maria, I told myself, he bought it because he wanted to read it, don’t over think it.
I text him back a thumbs up emoji and a THANK YOU!
Monday I’m in the middle of a conference call, and I see a new text slide onto my screen.
“Listen GAL this book of yours is a real button pusher! Can’t read much at once. Up until 4 am obsessed and reflecting after reading too many chapters in one sitting.”
I glance at it- I’m still in the middle of a call – and think in my head- that’s a good sign, right? That he was reading late into the night, that the book kept his interest? I like that he kept reading, I liked that it pushed his buttons, I want to make people reflect.
My conference call ends, and I stare at his text. I’m not sure how to respond. I’ve only heard from maybe ten readers, and that includes when it was in manuscript form. And those ten readers were women.
I reply honestly,
“Hmm…not sure how to answer that …love to meet up with you when you are done to discuss, can’t tell if that means you are enjoying it or if you find it torturous.”
He texts back. “I’m into it!! We will meet when I am done.”
Blessings of generosity show up in unexpected places. I wrote my mini-memoir to tell a story. It’s okay to make the choices we have made because there is no such thing as a mistake. I do believe that things happen in perfect order. My intention is for the book to be a teaching tool, to generate conversations about our humanness and what makes us human. I just didn’t think my conversations would be with men; I didn’t think men would relate.
The human condition is the human condition; not male or female. I keep looking for the differences; I keep separating us into two camps thinking we are separate and have to stay separate, (our brains are different, our bodies are different) but our condition of being human is not.
It’s the opposite; if you have lived long enough, you probably took actions, made choices for love that in looking back you’ve questioned your sanity. At least I know I did. M is giving me feedback that somewhere in my story – he saw himself. M is giving me such beautiful proof it’s a human condition, not a female condition. Stop putting men and women in different camps, Maria!
Here we are now; the coffee shop filled with hipsters, med students with laptops and people like us, those that don’t want to work or study but talk. We catch up, our conversations float over, in and around different topics, M is funny I get pulled into his great stories, and I almost forget that I’m nervous to hear what he thinks.
“So…” I pause.
“Yes, your book, well you know I sent you the text about the waitress…” he says
I shake my head, “What?” I ask.
“The text I sent..uhoh..did I send it to the wrong person?” M grimaces and hurriedly gets his phone out of his pocket; I’m looking at mine scrolling down to find his last text. I did get it, I just never scrolled down to see the whole thing. I start to read.
“I spent a day at the beach and read it quickly cover to cover. Took it to a restaurant and sat on the patio for an early supper…
M starts telling me the story, I stop reading and listen instead.
“This young waitress comes over and says she saw the cover, she loves doing yoga and asks if it’s a good book, I tell her it’s your memoir and give her a two-second synopsis. She then says “Oh, it’s like “Eat, Pray, Love “ but really “Meditation, Yoga, Surgery.” She immediately gets it, but I elaborate with the big life lessons, etc. I thought about how nice she was after I left and how interested she was in the book, so when I get home, or maybe it was the next day, I call up the restaurant and talk to the manager and describe the gal. I tell him the story….
I’m smiling as he shares because it’s already a great story and from M’s face I can tell It’s only going to get better.
“and let him know I want to get the waitress’s name because I want to send her a copy of the book care of the restaurant.” M smiles at me.
“You did that?” I ask.
“Yes,” M. answers.
“Really?!, that is so, so very sweet of you.”
I’m so happy at this moment, grateful for how kind and thoughtful M is. I imagine the young woman going to work and getting this surprise package via mail, hoping she is just as tickled by M’s generosity and thoughtfulness. I hope she enjoys the book and as that thought crosses my mind, I realize getting the book is the mail is a magnificent gift in itself even if she never opens it, but I hope she does.
“You really did that?” I ask again, just to confirm in my head. I want to give M a giant bear hug, I’ve known him for years and always felt connected to him but not known him very well, and I am in love with his sense of fun and helpfulness. He doesn’t yet know my degree of shyness when it comes to promoting this work and that I haven’t advertised its publication.
The “waitress story” is beautiful. I wonder if there is any way the waitress can contact M back if she wants. I am guessing probably not, since it was sent by Amazon.
In the past week it has been 3 male friends (M, D, and T), the audience I didn’t think I had, who have been providing nourishment to me as a first time new author, each of them teaching me the lesson that we are more similar than different, each of them saying back to me, “Don’t put me in a box”, I’m as human as you are. My sex makes no difference. My life experiences are yours, and yours are mine.
They are a mirror of my book’s message.
I bow my head to my teachers. Who’s teaching whom?