Prepped and Ready: Another First

Prepped and Ready: Another First

I wasn’t alone this week in my birthday quest to answer the question, “When’s the last time you did something for the first time?” The Perry Hall branch of the Baltimore County Public Library joined me in that effort when they hosted their first ever Local Author Showcase event. Twenty-six authors shared their books five minutes at a time in an afternoon filled with storytellers.

It was inspiring!

We heard from first-time authors and veteran authors; novelists, poets, memoirists, and life coaches; cancer survivors, abuse survivors, a police detective, an English teacher, a dog lover, and my personal favorite, a former pastor (Robert Hale) who charmed us all with his imagined tale of a movie agent’s hot pursuit of his book—a dream most of us have but would never admit.

Becky and former Pastor Bob

The crowd was sparse but loyal, staying through three rounds of readings and two breaks sweetened by chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

As promised, we ended at 4 p.m.

Then the magic happened.

Although I didn’t sell a single book, I enjoyed getting to know a few folks from the audience, some of them writers with their own upcoming books. Conversations with the hosting librarians yielded fascinating insights into how libraries are reinventing themselves to serve their readers’ interests.

Then I began to talk to my fellow showcase participants who shared their behind-the-book stories. Beyond our polished five-minute talks, what was it like to be an author? To promote a book? What worked? What didn’t?

Fellow She Writes Press authors, Diane Pomerantz, Betty Hafner, and Heather Cumiskey

I should have been exhausted when I finally made it home, but for some reason I felt energized and surprisingly uplifted. I just had to share the moment on social media—check out my “post book-talk boogie!”

So, why the happiness boost?

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, may have one explanation:

Challenging yourself to learn something new brings happiness because it allows you to expand your self-definition. You become larger.

Yes! This debut event created firsts for everyone involved, the library as well as the authors, expanding our “self-definition.”

Need a three- to five-sentence intro? Twenty-six authors now have that. A five-minute reading? Got it. And want to know the ins and outs of creating a Local Author Showcase event? Twenty-six authors, their audience, and an adventuresome library staff know that now, too. We all benefited from stretching ourselves and daring to try something new.

It made me happy.

How about you? Have you learned something new that created happiness by expanding your “self-definition?” Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

P.S. Madison’s birthday is March 24th! So happy she continues to transition well in her new home and day program. If you’d like to honor her on her Madison’s Banner for our annual Pathfinders for Autism Golf Tournament, click HERE. Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers for her success!

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