I've been going through a massive coming-of-age phase lately. My Return of Saturn, if you will. And I have a lot of days when I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, if I'm on the right track.
The other day I was in a bookstore--a famous bookstore with new and used books. I was prowling around and happened to find a book by an author I love. Said author's initials are H.R. He hasn't written much, but what he has written has been fantastic, and he has a style of writing that I really liked immediately.
So there I was, and there was this book--his first book, the only one of his books that I haven't read. It was a used hardback book. $6 instead of its original price of $23. Of course I snapped it up.
I got home, puttered around, and finally settled down for bed. I brought the book with me; I couldn't wait to start reading it. I opened the book and noticed something strange--what's that on the title page?
It was an autograph and a personal message. The author's autograph, and a message he wrote to someone named Steve, thanking Steve for his help and support. I turned to the acknowledgments page, and sure enough, there was a Steve listed there. I chuckled. Clearly Steve didn't feel like keeping the book around for sentimental reasons, and somehow the book found its way into my hands. Into the hands of a budding author who has been increasingly John Locke-like (the Lost character, not the philosopher) lately in her search for signs that indicate she's on the right path.
This was a good sign. And a good lesson, too--whenever I get published and sign my books for friends and colleagues, I'm going to make their personal messages distinct enough so that if I ever come across one of those signed copies on a dusty shelf in a used bookstore, I'll know exactly which one of them didn't have enough faith in me as a writer to keep that book around until I became a big enough name to have my autographed book sold for lots of money on eBay. ;)