The moment snuck up and tapped me on the shoulder in a most ordinary way: I was getting my bowl of oatmeal at a breakfast buffet in Colorado.
The woman next to me commented she loves the rugged west, and that she is from Pennsylvania. "Where in Pennsylvania?" I ask, and we are off and running. She's South of my hometown, toward the middle of the Keystone State. She's a grandma, visiting with family. We bond over the fact that we are both widows.
I weigh the situation, guaging whether I am intruding on a family's breakfast; my instincts tell me it's okay to have a seat.
I'm at eye-level with a young writer. It's a heady feeling. The first thing I tell Daniel is he's not "going to be a writer" ... he IS a writer, present-tense, because he wants to create stories. This unique and driving desire to write is the magical entrance into the very realm of creativity.
Daniel and I connect. Instantly.
I ask him, "Do you like to be alone? Do you prefer it?"
"Yes!" he nods.
"This," I tell him, "is going to be one of your biggest challenges: seeking out solitude to write, yet needing to be fully immersed in people and things and events, so you have the ideas to launch from.
"Yes!" he so gets it.
I ask Daniel what he's reading now.
"All kinds of things," he enthuses. "Mostly enchanted stuff, mysteries. Harry Potter. A Series of Unfortunate Events." He rattles off a few more titles, including books he means to get to soon. This kid already knows, to write well is to read. Voraciously.
Understanding this is a wonderfully orchestrated appointment, a fleeting moment, my mind is racing. I remember the classifieds: "Daniel. Do you know a great place to find writing ideas? The classifieds!"
He looks mystified. "The classifieds?" he says.
I give him a brief rundown of the classifieds, and how they are spring-loaded with story and character ideas.
His parents nod in agreement. They agree the classified ads can be a treasure trove of intrigue, humor and drama. Such as: Why would this person get rid of all their action figures? Why do they need the money? It's a story idea just waiting for a pen and a premise.
Daniel wants to go as a writer for Halloween. We talk about pocket protectors, reporter's notebooks and maybe a pencil behind the ear.
I love this rich exchange between the generations and I truly hope young Daniel carries something - anything - from this conversation into his writing life.
He is so blessed to have his parents and grandma -- his biggest fans. I'm also hoping the teachers and mentors in his life will catch the vision and point the way.
The window of time narrows; it's time for me to cut away from this table of light.
I leave a business card with Daniel and his family, so they can look up my books. They are grateful for this impromptu meeting, seemingly enamoured with meeting a published author.
But I'm the one keen on this lovely encounter - beguiled by a young creative, just getting ready to grace the world with his unique style.
Follow your own voice, Dear Daniel. I'll be watching for your byline.
I invite you to look for my books, Breath of Joy! Simply Summer and Breath of Joy! Ah, Autumn.
This blog supports www.booksforbondinghearts.com/shop, timely gifts for Autumn and Christmas.