Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Loving my job

There are many reasons why I love my job.

What other job do I get to do in my pajamas and a face pack?
What other job 'forces' me to do hard and heavy research into gorgeous heroes and wonderful settings? (Though not the really really hard research that Anne McAllister is going to have to do this week - darn her! If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out her blog and suffer the pangs of jealousy with me.)
What other job lets me listen to the voices in my head, even talk back to them, and not get labelled totally crazy?

But this last week I've been reminded of one very special reason why I love this job. And that is the way that it lets me reach out to people who are thousands of miles away, maybe touch their lives for a moment or two, and hopefully brighten a darker moment or lift a lonely mood.

I can do this by writing the books that they read to ease the stress or the unhappiness of a day even when they never know who I am. And sometimes, on rather special occasions, being Kate Walker the writer helps me do that little bit more.

Some years ago, through the message boards over on eHarlequin.com, I came in touch with a lovely lady from Quebec called Brenda and we chatted a few times. Brenda worked in healthcare, with elderly people and she told me about one special old lady in particular - a lady called Vera.

Vera was, sadly, too much alone. She rarely saw her family or anyone else. But she loved to read. And one day Brenda saw one of my books on Vera's table. She was able to tell Vera that she knew me. The old lady didn't understand the internet or email communication but that didn't matter - she was thrilled to have met someone who knew one of her favourite authors.

Through Brenda's help I was able to pack up a couple of my books and send them out to Canada where Brenda gave them to her. This was back in May 2004 and I remember that Brenda wrote and told me about Vera's reaction. I still have the email about that as it is one of those special ones that I like to remember. So I know how pleased Vera was just to get the small package.

Here's how Brenda described that time:

Just had to let you know that I took the books etc to Vera last night when I was working. She was absolutely thrilled! You really made her day, Kate. Couldn't have been more perfectly timed because she failed her driver's test yesterday afternoon and was feeling rather low.

When I work an evening shift at the apts, I'm not due in to Vera's until around 6:30 but I went straight to her when the package when I got to work at 4:30. Later, she was knocking on apartment doors showing all her friends what she recieved and made a point of showing off your autograph on the books.


Sadly, the message I got from Brenda this last week was that Vera had died. Even though I never met her in person that saddened me but at the same time gave me a lovely feeling that I'd been able to reach out to her through my books and bring some joy into her life. Apparently she kept those books on her coffee table and told visitors that they were written by a 'dear friend.'

It's an experience that makes me think about fame and the power for good it can sometimes bring. It's my books that are famous - I'm just the person who sits at home and writes them. But it's a good feeling to know that because of those books, I can bring a little sunshine into someone's life when it's needed.

Rest in peace Vera - and Brenda if you're reading this, a special big hug to you for helping me with this. I know you miss Vera on a more personal level and the care you give to the elderly people in the apartments where you work is invaluable. Thank you for that too.

3 comments:

andrew said...

Oh Bless,

That's such a lovely story and should go a long way to putting a smile on your face for sure.
Your writing and your kindness travelled all the way to Canada, how many people can say that?

Aideen.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Beautiful post, Kate.

Anonymous said...

How thoughtful you are Kate and what a lovely gesture. It's so refreshing to hear tales like this and heartening too ...

God Bless you and yours' and your kindness.

 

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