“Are You Famous?”

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

The Kentucky Book Fair was yesterday. It’s a great event because a lot of readers show up to talk to the many writers (over 120 authors) and buy books. People do their Christmas shopping and come in with lists they have written after searching through the Book Fair catalogue. My book actually made some of those lists and I’m grateful for every reader who came by to say hello. Some had already read my books. Some were trying my books for the first time. I had fun talking to all of them, old friends and new. And the amazing thing is that I don’t think I forgot any names that I was supposed to remember. A lot of people signed up for my drawing for a free copy of The Scent of Lilacs, and the winner was Ruth. I’ll get her book in the mail the first of the week.

I did have one interesting conversation. A young man maybe twenty, maybe a little older or younger, came up to me and asked, “Are you famous?” Of course I said, “Hardly.” I certainly don’t feel anything close to famous as I think about famous. Who is famous? Movie stars. Athletes. Coaches – the line for Rick Pitino’s signature on his book was pretty long. Preachers can be famous. And some bestselling authors might surely make the list. I suppose the sole criteria of fame is being well known in a general, all-encompassing way. A person might be well known in his or her home town and not be known in the town down the road. So would he or she still be famous? You know what? I think that’s a question that has to be answered by everybody else and not by yourself. If you’re famous, you might not know it, but everybody else would.

Maybe the better question is “Do you want to be famous?” I’ve never worried much about acquiring fame, but I would like my books to be widely read. Most all writers do. That’s why we work so hard getting our words published and out in front of readers. It’s what we do.

Anyway I enjoyed talking to readers and other writers. I sat next to Janna McMahan whose book Coming Home is getting great reviews. She sold out her books before the day was over and got the reward of leaving early. I didn’t sell out, but I did have a lot of great people carry one or more of my books home with them. If some of those books end up under Christmas trees, then I will certainly feel honored.

It was one young woman’s birthday and her husband had surprised her with the gift of one of my books and a trip to the Book Fair. She was so excited and having so much fun. Her husband surely got bonus points for being so thoughtful and knowing what would please her. And he wasn’t the only thoughtful hubby. Another lady told me her husband had taken her out to breakfast and then suggested going to the Book Fair. She was having fun too. So take note. Maybe Book Fairs are the new romantic locations. At least for all those people who love books the way I do.

My writing friends, Virginia Smith and Jan Watson, were a few seats down the row from me with their piles of books. Both also had many people coming to take their books home with them. Ginny has a new title from Love Inspired, A Taste of Murder, and Jan had her popular Troublesome Creek series about her character, Copper there. Both have more new books coming out next year. Ginny and Jan are fun people to know and between us we must have smiled and talked to every person in Frankfort yesterday. Our smiling muscles got a work out.

And I still had plenty to smile about again this afternoon as our church gathered for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. When I was driving back to church this evening, I was thinking about my special reasons for thanksgiving. When we first started having our Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago in the basement of our church, we would stand in a circle and hold hands while we each named a special blessing. One of our blessings now is that our church has a beautiful new fellowship hall and we don’t have to have our dinners in the too small church basement anymore. Another is that we had too many people come tonight to let everyone speak a blessing one by one. The dressing and gravy would have gotten cold.

Even so, I always think about blessings of the year when we gather for the dinner. I have so many to count. My family. New twin grandbabies and another grandbaby (the other son and his wife) on the way. My church family. Friends. My Lord. A great place to live. A farm where I can walk with my dog. More books than I have time to read. And also many writing blessings. Two new books in 2008, Summer of Joy and The Outsider, and one, The Believer, scheduled for 2009. New readers. Old readers. Any and all readers! People who say they read my blog. I guess I could go on and on. I hope and pray that you can too.

And I’m still going to do that “too busy” blog sometime. When I have time.