I am at the airport and as I look around me, I wonder if anyone knows. When they look up at me from their Candy Crush and text messages, can they tell? I feel different. I know that what I am about to do will affect some people’s lives - changing them forever. Their bags are full of souvenirs from their trip just finished or gifts for loved ones they are headed to see. Not mine. My bag is heavy and for the hundredth time this morning, I wish it was lighter. Soon it will be.
No, I am not a terrorist. I am an author. Today, my carry-on bag is full of copies of my first children's book How Long Will You Love Me? and I am starting my first book tour. This week I am going to stand in front of hundreds of students and explain what an author does. I am going to share my love of books and of reading and of writing & illustrating. Some of those children may be inspired to be storytellers too or at the very least, better readers. Maybe I'm wrong ...maybe they will all grow up to be firemen, florists or CEOs and only have a vague memory of the lady who came for an author visit at their elementary school years ago. In my heart though, I hope that out there in the crowded cafeteria is at least one kid who will just get it. We will connect and I will make a difference.
Standing at the gate to board my flight, I straighten my posture. I make eye contact with the people around me & I smile. I doubt that the little girl in the pink dress near the window will tug on her mother's skirt, point and whisper "Mommy, do you think that lady is an author?" but I do know one thing with absolute certainty. One of the books in my overly heavy bag will reach a little girl just like her and even if she has no idea what an author is yet, she will grow up remembering those moments when her mother read my books to her.
That's why children's book authors do what we do: to create not just a collection of silly stories printed on paper but to create those precious bonding moments.
Maybe none of my fellow travelers today will know that I am an author. Maybe no one will question why my bag is almost too heavy to get in the overhead bin. But I know.... and that makes me smile. I am an author and that is my inspiration.