Heroes, mentors, and would anyone mind if I threw in angels? I actually think of the word “angel” as a verb – an action that anyone can perform. That means we can all angel someone else and be angeled by someone else at any given time. I can think of dozens of times when I’ve been angeled by others – really helped in a way that moved me along my path. I think of my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Ron Frank – the first one to tell me I was a good writer and that if I wanted to, I could write a book someday! There were other teachers, along with my mom, (thanks mom!) who concurred and encouraged me to write, and all of that helped to move me along to where I am today.
My heroes are those people who act in ways that help make the world a better place. The good news is that more and more people are doing that these days, and the even better news is that it’s something any of us can do. I’ve thought a lot lately about how I can use FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA to do some good in the world. And I am inspired by fellow returned Peace Corps Volunteer and author, Kris Holloway-Bidwell. Her beautiful book, Monique and the Mango Rains, is about her time living in Africa when she was a volunteer in Mali. Even more beautiful is the fact that she is using her book to educate Americans about childbirth for women without access to adequate healthcare and to fund a health clinic in her former Peace Corps village so that fewer women will die in childbirth. In this way, Kris and her book have become a force for good in the world. And have inspired me to try to do the same.
As I get ever-closer to the launch of FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA, it gets easier to get tied up in the “success” of the book and overwhelmed by all the things I could be, should be doing to help my book succeed. A few months back, I began to wonder how I could do all this without losing sight of what’s really important to me. And when I started asking – the answer came to me (and I thank our loyal reader, and wish granter, Larramie, for encouraging me to ask for my wish and receive my answer).
I have little control of what happens to my book once it goes out into the world. But I can control how I measure its success. So I choose – as Kris and so many of my heroes have done – to measure my own success by how much good I can do in this world. Thus my promotional motto has now become, “How much good can a do-gooder do with one good book?” I am thrilled about the prospect of helping others as I work to promote my book. And I thank Kris, my teachers and all the angels that are already out there doing so much – often in their own quiet ways – to make the world a little bit better. Those are my heroes, my mentors and my angels.
And the best news is, it’s something we can all be doing.