I recently completed a book by Randy Attwood titled, Crazy About You. He heeded the call to submit a book for The Writing Apocalypse website. At first I thought I wouldn’t like the book, because books set any further back than 1980 aren’t really my thing. But this book dealt with a teenage boy growing up on the grounds of a mental institution, and being that I love the study of psychiatry, I read the book and didn’t pass it on to my colleagues to follow through one. I’m so glad I didn’t. This book was so fascinating that I forgot it was set in the 1960’s, during a time when psychiatry was still pretty barbaric and misunderstood.
Needless to say, I loved the book and left a review on Amazon. I don’t always leave reviews unless really compelled in the absolute positive or negative aspect. Of course, I rated this quite positive. The author sent me a message and thanked me for my review, which was never something I said I would give. Remember, this book was only a submission for review into the Writing Apocalypse Survivor page on the website. But I was compelled to leave my honest opinion.
Randy thanked me for the review and mentioned that $1 of each book went to a local mental health foundation in his area. I thought that was great and expressed my thoughts on that, since, as a nurse, I know the mental health field is well underfunded, still widely misunderstood, and something we don’t like to discuss in general conversation. But it is here, and whether it is acknowledged or not, it will remain. So, I told Randy my thoughts and applauded him for his part in helping out.
Now since this is public and can be read on my Facebook page, I must say that he said something profound in return, something that made me smile because I knew exactly what he meant. He said, “Thank you, Tania. Your review hit me just at a time in my writing life when I needed it. Never doubt that reviews are important, not just for potential sales, but for the writer…not his/her ego…but it gives reason to keep on writing because you realize you are connecting. And that’s what it is all about.”
I responded that as writers, we often give so much of ourselves, not only mentally but also our energy, and that hearing positive feedback from readers is what re-energizes us. For me, I have heard so many positives from families who have family or friends suffering from Lou Gehrig’s, and they don’t always leave reviews but contact me by email, telling me how the book gave them faith or hope or the power to forgive. One woman even sent me the memoirs left behind by her brother who passed away from the disease. She said my book really shed light on the disease, even though the book dealt with something different. Hearing that is more powerful than a good review, because it means I have touched someone beyond just a good story. I didn’t touch a reader, but a person.
Randy returned with, ” I have a strong belief that what we are doing in fiction is creating reality with words. And when we do it well it creates a reality in the reader’s mind.”
Truer words have never been spoken, Randy. As an author it takes so much of my time and energy to put my thoughts on paper. It drains so much of me, in the same way my patients drain my energy when I am nursing. It is not a bad thing in any way, it is what we do. But when a patient tells me I made a difference, my energy and spirit is sent to full levels. In this same way, when my book has touched someone beyond just the story, then my energy to turn the computer back on is replenished.
I have said many times that writing for the public is a mutual relationship. We write to give readers a piece of ourselves, and when they read they absorb a piece of us. Make sure when giving of yourself, you give it your all, because someone out there will walk away with a tiny piece of you.
Randy Attwood’s book Crazy About You can be found on Kindle, and remember, $1.00 of this book will be donated to the mental health center in Lawrnece KS, who run the suicide hotline.
My book, Be Still, can be found on Kindle and Nook and print copy books.