I have heard of Ann Patchett before, of course, but I had never read any of her work. Full disclosure: I did try to read Bel Canto once. I have no idea why I didn’t actually finish it. Or start it. I forget.
Anyway, my friend and yoga teacher, Kristen, mentioned a book casually in conversation a couple of weeks ago. “Um, I think it’s called A Happy Marriage,” she said. Sometime later that day, because the title was still with me, I decided to look it up. I found This is the Story of a Happy Marriage on audiobook and requested it from the library. Shockingly, it came right away.
I didn’t know what to expect. I knew nothing about the book other than that my friend, whose taste in books is usually a 180 from my own, liked it (e.g.: my expectations were low). But surprise! I loved it right away! I love when authors who are good at it read their own work. Ann (as she tells us in her book), is good at it. The next happy surprise was that she talks about writing and being an author (among other things) in this book. She describes how, early in her career, she used to think ahead to all those rows of empty chairs waiting at her upcoming book talks, knowing that there was a good chance none of them would be filled.
I could, you know, relate.
As I listened to parts of this book, I realized that Ann got it. She gets it. She knows exactly how it feels to be me right now, with my first book that quite possibly ‘no one wants to talk about’ when they come to the book signings. But I go anyway. I get up early. Sometimes, I drive for hours. I am ‘really nice’ to the staff. I remember to drink gallons of water to avoid dehydration. These are all rules that Ann follows at her own book signing events.
So thank you, Ann Patchett, for reminding me that everyone has to start somewhere and at one time in your career as an author, you were exactly where I am right now.