Do you read?

The sun sets on another day…

As I drove home today from Charlotte, MI the sunset cascaded across the western sky. I was amazed at the colors as the clouds mixed with the evening sun and the world glowed bright orange and red.

When I first started selling books, I asked people a simple question. “Do you read?” The answer was usually “No,” as it gave the person an out, and they walked away, having answered my question.

I later modified my question to be “what do you like to read?” and that forced more of a conversation. The most successful author I have seen at shows uses a very positive method of handing the potential reader a bookmark and opening a conversation where they feel obligated to trade a moment of their time. Still, many times, the answer is “I don’t read.”

Today while talking to a person who said they would never read after college and they proceeded to tell me all about how much they read every day at their job and how horrible it was to read. As we discussed, she realized the only thing she had ever equated with reading was suffering at school or her job. I’m sure she pondered as she walked away about actually finding a pleasurable read.

Another woman came and said she loved to read but always lost track and had problems staying focused while reading. We talked for a while, and she said that she needed to find a way to focus and wanted to be a good reader but wasn’t sure how to do it. I sold her a book of short stories, and I am sure she will have a great time, and she doesn’t have to initially commit and instead will potentially learn to focus more effectively.

The point is the most significant difference between us, and a plethora of animal species is our written language and our ability to communicate over time and from generation to generation. We are the carriers of the positives and negatives of our world. We can carry forward good or bad words and help future generations see the world more clearly.

The final reminder came from a man who was running the booth next to me who was horribly irritated about both the day and everything about his sales for the day was asked by a child, “what are these?” to which the man said with significant grumpiness “it says it on the sign, can’t you read?”. the boy shrugged it off. He walked away after picking up one of the balls and dropping it back in the bin.

It all was better with the one young man who had read my first anthology of horror stories, with several families telling Ingar Rudholm that they loved his books and had already read them, with the families that bought books because they loved reading, to the man who wanted to start a new series with the Michigan author and bought books simply because he loved to read. All of these people had beautiful stories and conversations that warmed my heart and gave me hope for the future.

Each day we can choose to wander along the same way we always have or to suddenly find a doorway into history, a flight into fantasy, a heartfelt pondering into poetry, or a view inside another person’s mind with a memoir. All of these genres and them anymore can open the world to us and help us see everything with more clarity. We have the ability to lay aside our earthly bounds and see into our imaginations to grow and feel beyond ourselves. Find your passion and read what you love, and if you don’t like to read because of work or bad memories or just have trouble reading take a moment and just listen to the world as it goes by.

So as the sun sets on another day, I hope you find the passion and persistence to be the wonderful person I know you can be. Everyone has the ability to make someone else’s day a little better. If I found a way to make one person smile today, I have done my job and will continue to do so. Find your way, build smiles with your message, and read a little too, no matter what.

Sleep sweet, love life, and feel the breeze…