Monday, May 19, 2014


A few people I know are convinced that I am a successful author. It must be that I’m on Facebook a lot and I know how to Twitter (sort of) because by any worldly measure, I’m not. 

A successful author, that is.

I’ve never broken even—money wise. I’ve never been on any bestseller lists. I’ve never been on Oprah’s book club. It’s hard to get my English professors to read anything I write over four pages long.

Then again . . . maybe a few people I know are right. 

About the success, I mean.

I’ve written a children’s chapter book about fairies, published three, almost four E-Books on Smashwords, written and illustrated an inspirational book about hope and love, and published a chapter book for middle school kids that was a finalist for a cool prize. And as I type this, I have three new manuscripts in the editing pot, bubbling.

But let’s face it, everyone is writing a book these days, including my bug man. 

So success? How do you know?

Recently Phoenix (age 6) came to see me, a little girl some might be tempted to label “different.” Her mother, Paulette, has been trying to educate the rest of us about Phoenix’s autism. Her mother is brave and beautiful, so is Phoenix.

Phoenix came to my home, bringing her book so that I could sign it: a dog-eared, well-loved copy of The Long-Promised Song, words and pictures by Linda L. Zern—me. It’s a little story about tiny creatures and an impossible friendship. The drawings are charcoal and very simple.

At first she didn’t look at me or say anything. She played with my grandchildren. She sat in the talking tree. She visited the rabbits. She listened while the adults talked.

I signed my name in her book. Mostly, she ignored me. 

Before they left, Paulette suggested that we take a picture of Phoenix with her favorite author, Linda L. Zern—me. I sat in front of the fireplace on the cedar chest I’ve had since I was a little girl. Without prompting or prodding, Phoenix jumped up next to me, threw her arm around my shoulders, squeezed me tight, squashed her cheek up against mine, and smiled. I could feel her smiling against my face.

I heard her mother whisper something like, “I can’t believe she’s sitting there like that.”

I held my breath because I knew what she meant. I felt what she meant. 

It was as if a baby fawn had wandered into my living room, jumped up on my cedar chest, and allowed me to pet it. I could feel the joy in that moment, the joy in that little girl, and the delight of sharing an idea that began as fragile as a cobweb that grew and then changed and became, finally, someone else’s beloved story. 

A successful author? Are you kidding? Have you seen the picture? 

Linda (Count Me Blessed) Zern 

1 comment:

Marie Teemant said...

This is one of the sweetest photographs ever to exist.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...