Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Open Letter to Mitch Albom

Dear Mitch,

Book signings really are the worst place to meet your favorite author. Last night I stood in the conveyor belt line with sweaty palms, noting all of the other fidgety females re-balancing their stacks of books while trying to slide out their cell phones. The line was moving so fast.

Do I have time for a picture?
Can he sign both books?
What do I say to him?

The pressure made me lightheaded with excitement and a sense of existential crescendo.

This is it.

I walked up and said something vague and unmemorable, then scooped up my books and walked away. The problem with book signings, or any brief interaction with an artist for that matter, is that there is always so much more to say than “I love you!” or “Thanks!” Because the truth is, art deserves art in response.

If I had had more time, more confidence, more eloquence, I would have told you how much your writing has impacted my life and the way I see the world. I would have told you that the copy you were signing wasn’t even mine because I have given away countless of my own copies throughout the years. I would have told you how every time I am in a used book store, I scan for your books and set them out intentionally for the next person to find and enjoy.

I hugged my mom tighter after reading For One More Day, I volunteered at church after reading Have A Little Faith, and I will forever see the interconnectedness of life after reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Each book has left a unique imprint on my heart, slightly changing its shape and rhythm and the way it loves. That is art.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, “I love you!” and “Thanks!”

                                                                                                    -  Natalie

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