I’ve been invited to speak at the Rochester Public Library at 7 p.m. this Thursday (March 28) as part of the Library’s Visiting Author Series.

Months ago when we set this up, I thought when the day finally came I’d be terrified to speak. But I said yes. I try to always say yes. Years ago, I met Aleksandra Kasuba, the artist, who told me that whenever anyone came calling for her work, she’d say yes. She said there were times when she’d agree to something she didn’t even know how to do, then hang up the phone and look around at her small children, the house that needed some cleaning, a full schedule of plans, and realize she had no idea how she was going to get done what she’d just promised to get done. Yet, she stressed, she always said yes. Then she’d set out to teach herself the skill she needed.

cropped-book.jpgWhen Katherine from the Library asked me to speak, I said yes. And, as of a few days ago, I still had no idea what I would talk about. Upside Down Kingdom, of course, publishing… Me, I suppose… But I’m hit or miss. I’ve been telling my friends, “Sometimes I wake up and I’m interesting. Other days, I’m dull. We’ll see which Jody we get!”

And then I received two emails on Sunday from guests who’d come into Söntés and bought the book. The first was from a man who said the book gave him a whole new perspective on Washington, D.C. I daresay it opened his eyes on restaurant servers as well. He told me that he finished the book while sitting at an Outback restaurant, and though his tab was $30, he left his server a $100 tip and left before the server could discover it. “That,” his email said, “Was for you.”

His pass-it-on gesture was done in honor of me. How amazing! I just sat and smiled at that email. (And I wrote back that I remembered his table, the conversations we had, and what they ate. A server usually remembers what a guest liked to eat.) Days later, I’m still smiling over that email.

The second email I received was from a woman who gave me her perspective of meeting me. She came into Söntés with her friend, was sitting at the bar when she noticed my bookshelf. She wondered why the restaurant would endorse a book. The bartender, Annie, told her the author worked there.

Then I came over and talked with her, and that conversation made her want to know more. She bought the book, read it in two days, and emailed me. She said she was finishing cancer treatments and that my book reminded her of her adventurous spirit, and how she’d put her life on hold lately. Now she was going to set it back on track again with some traveling and anything necessary to “track down her happy.”

Wow. I took a few days before I wrote her back to really let that sink in. Last night, I wrote her and thanked her for reminding me why I do what I do.

Both of these emails remind me that my passion is for writing, in all forms. They remind me that what I do is important. There are days that I question myself—usually those are the days a bill shows up in the mailbox. Or when the house is a disaster and I’m behind on seemingly everything in my life. But everyone has that. This thing that I love to do, love to practice, has an effect on others. A good effect. I continue to say yes to opportunities, no matter how large or frightening they may seem. I teach myself something new.

Even the worst days writing are better than the best days working at something I’m not passionate about doing. Thank you, Chris and Michelle, for your emails and for inspiring me.poster

Again, I talk at the Rochester Public Library tomorrow, March 28, at 7 p.m. I’m going to read a little from my book and I’m going to talk about some stuff. It might very well prove to be inspiring, now that I know what I want to say.

In addition, (and just one of a million reasons why I love Söntés) Söntés Restaurant is offering a 10% discount off your entire check this Thursday and Friday (March 28 & 29) when you bring your copy of Upside Down Kingdom in to the restaurant. Nook, Kindle, and various E-readers count, too. Bring them in. Eat, drink, and read.

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Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, available on Amazon: dld.bz/bYuX4

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