A baseball author friend of mine, Barbara Gregorich (author of "She's on First," among other books), pointed out this article in Publisher's Weekly entitled "Tour of Duty." It's written by a children's author who makes book tours to rural community schools, and is about how she almost always finds one child on each tour who lights up as a result of her visit - how giving this one glimpse of a larger world to a child who knows only what is just in front of him or her may make all the difference in that child's life. It's a touching article. It made me think of stories of mine, when I've been on the road with the baseball novel, and of the people who have come up to talk to me about the book. I think of the man who said he read it when he was sick in the hospital - it gave him hope. Or I think of the family whose daughter had a plan for when she would read it - after she had attended a challenge camp - so she would be ready. And then there were the four people - two couples - who just beamed at meeting me in person after having passed the book between them a couple months before. These memories, and others, inspire me to remember the power of the story itself - and the power of how one book, one visit, can have an impact beyond what anyone imagines. The ripple effect.
I will remember this the next time I unload a box of books, and my poster, and the easel for the poster, and all the rest of my accoutrements that I lug around when doing book signings. Makes it all a little more worth it, to imagine an outcome outside of the moment right before me.