At least four people told me about it. “You HAVE to read this book. You’ll love it. It’s about growing up in Appalachia.”
So when Ms. Cindy told me that the author Amy Greene was signing books at the fall festival, I felt guilty that I hadn’t read it yet.
But I went to meet her because I knew. I just knew.
I apologized profusely that hadn’t read the book yet. She was warm and kind and easy, like talking to my sister. I was instantly drawn to her. I loved the book already without reading one page.
I devoured it in two days and a long night. It got under my skin, Avett Brothers style. The characters wouldn’t leave me alone. I wrote Amy an email declaring my love for her work. She graciously agreed to come to my bookclub.
Fast forward three months. A lot has changed for me. My life will never be the same.
It was two weeks ago when it dawned on me that Amy was scheduled to come to our bookclub on January 21st.
I had been looking forward to it so much but I wasn’t sure I was ready. Could it get through it without crying? Could I moderate the discussion at all?
Maybe we should postpone.
But I knew her paperback was coming out and she’d be busy with book signings and tours so I decided to ‘keep calm and carry on.” I’m so glad I did.
My bookclub friends have been so generous and loving to me during this trauma. They’ve done every kind thing you can think of and more. It was so good to see them all. And then my sister reminded me that it was the one month anniversary of the fire. My dear neighbor Ms. Jan, who has been like a second mother to me during this mess, had graciously offered to host us at her house so it was kind of like ‘going back home’ for me, difficult but therapeutic. I’ve had a hard time finding my words lately so I’ll sum up my thoughts about spending the day with Amy in an email I sent to her yesterday.
“I don’t even know what to say. I’m so blessed by you, by your heart, your sharing. It was our one month anniversary of the fire and so to be with you, back home, near it all, was kind of overwhelming. Johnny was so right, the healing comes with remembering, with going back. It will go down as one of my all time special days. I will remember it with the tragedy, which is so fitting, really. I know my friends loved you so. I don’t think any of them, save one, are from here but they have embraced us and our quirky ways and have learned to love our life here by the mountains. I’m so proud of them too, for learning to love us. I looked at the pictures and it’s funny, you and I both have the same blue eyes, almost exactly the same color. The color of healing and joy. I’m so proud of you for giving so much of yourself. For learning to live vulnerable, to give freely, to be willing to be hurt. You are so easy to love, like a sister——right there among us —-but teaching us to live our calling, to follow our dreams.
It was magical and enchanting, just like Bloodroot. You have a very special gift Ms. Amy and I am so blessed to know you.”
I can’t thank Amy enough for the gift of her presence and if you haven’t read her book, by all means, get that baby soon. It’s now available in paperback at Target!
My gifted poet friend Patty wrote a beautiful piece about our day together and a big thank you to my dear friend Sue, who loved the book, read it three times, and had wonderful questions ready!
I have the best friends ever.
I’m including Amy when I say that. I love what she said to me, “Some people are just meant to know each other. And I think we are. ”