This month marks the release of my sixty-second published work. Numbers sixty-three, sixty-four, and sixty-five are out this year. My very first, Yesterday’s Secrets was released in 1993. It was reviewed by a woman named Harriet Klausner.
There was a romance review magazine back then called Affaire de Coeur. It was well known and respected within the genre. Harriet was one of their top reviewers. And there I was a brand new author and she was looking at me. At my work. I was nervous. As far as I was concerned my whole life was on the line. I’d known from the time I was fourteen that all I wanted to do was write for Harlequin Books. I’d done that. Now I had to sustain that goal for the rest of my life. But what if everyone hated my work?
Harriet, didn’t hate my work. As a matter of fact, she loved it. But more than that, she ‘got’ what I was doing. It was like she was inside of me, hearing the voices, and knowing what they were saying to me.
I met Harriet at a conference once. An Affaire de Coeur gathering. My editor introduced her to me. She was kind of an odd woman, unconventional dress. But I was good with that. I’ve never been conventional, either. I really liked her.
A few years later, Affaire de Coeur went out of business. And I didn’t hear about Harriet anymore. And this past week, I went on Amazon, looking for my new release, The Truth About Comfort Cove, and there was a review posted. From Harriet. It was five out of five stars. The review was…well, it made me feel really good as I’m staring down a daunting deadline.
And then I noticed nine comments to the review. Not review of the book, but comments on the review. They were horrible. Not directed at me but at Harriet. They called her a machine. They were mean to the point of vicious. They claimed that she didn’t read the books she reviews. And I have no idea where this wrath is coming from! Is Harriet still around and reading a book or more a day as she used to do and people just don’t get it? Or has someone made some software that puts drones out to latch onto book titles and post some generic review to it under Harriet’s name?
Regardless, why would people need to go on my book page and comment on a review? What does it matter to them what anyone says about my book?
There is so much wrath in this world. I wish we could replace it with kindness. I just do not understand why everyone has to be so ugly. What point does it serve? I understand that we have to battle the bad sometimes, but I wish people would pick their battles more judiciously. A book review is just not it.
And families aren’t, either, by the way. I know of three families right now where people are not speaking with immediate family members. Children not speaking with parents. Siblings not speaking. I get upset with my mother sometimes. And my brother, too. But I cannot not speak with them. They are my family. Love is there just because we are family. Family and love are commodities that none of us have enough of. They are the things from which joy is born.
We just recently went through a fairly routine serious surgery with my mother. The next day she had heart irregularities. I came face to face with the reality that life is not forever. She is fine now. Doing great. And I cherish every minute I have with her – even hurt feeling upset ones. It is up to us, each one of us, to do what we must to make ourselves able and willing to do the work, go to counseling, open our minds, find understanding, find some way to co-exist with those who gave us birth, those we gave birth to, and those who share birth parents.
Life is short. And the world needs much more kindness. The kind that starts at home.