Here’s a shout-out to a lovely lady named Ann Best, who became my personal hero one day last month. On the same day I received a comment on my blog that ripped me as a person apart, Ann wrote this comment for me on a guest post I had written:
I’m so glad I subscribe to Story Dam or I wouldn’t have discovered you, Shelli. I read a sample of your book yesterday morning, got to the end of it, and thought, The writing is stunning! The best writing I’ve ever read in a self-published book. A breath of fresh air. The writing is up there with Hemingway and Carver, and other such great writers. It is JUST excellent. I would have read it all the way through yesterday, but my disabled daughter’s aide left and then I was on duty. It is an absolute page-turner. And you are amazingly skilled at using sensory descriptions to heighten your great skill with dialogue! I’m SO glad I found you. And I intend to write a review of your novel when I finish it!
She had no idea when she was writing it that I desperately needed to hear something positive, that my life felt like it was crushing down on me, that I felt like I’d been hit by a sledgehammer by everything else (that nasty comment, sick husband, sick child, anniversary of my father’s death, car problems, deadlines) that was going on around me. I choked up as I read it, part of it was a release of all the stress and part of it was that this woman, who was a total stranger to me, went out of her way to do something kind with no expectation of anything in return.
I wrote her an email, telling her how much her comment meant to me, giving her a dose of kindness back. Lo and behold, it turns out that she needed a kind word also. Here was her reply:
I’m so glad my comment lifted you. We all need positive comments, some days more than others. I had a very bad day today, when the aide for my disabled daughter didn’t show up, again. So it made me feel very good to know I had helped you. And you are very welcome to use my comment in a blog post. I consider it an honor.
Are we responsible for other people’s happiness? No. But that doesn’t mean we can’t offer a kind and supportive word, that we can’t do something to make their day a little brighter.
When was the last time you said something positive to a stranger? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.