I've been warmed and sustained by many generous comments since Involuntary Joy's release five weeks ago. Sometimes I feel I can sense people reading. Most likely the sensation comes from reflecting on what I've learned about how and when people are reading the book--and where. Hearing these things provides me with yet another brand of joy--a quiet, peaceful kind:
- one woman is forcing herself to read it only one chapter at a time because, "I don't want it to end."
- another woman decided to read it during her treadmill workout because, "I enjoy it so much, it makes the time fly."
- one couple (in their 80s) shared the experience as the wife read it aloud to her husband (who has cataracts) each night for a little more than a week;
- a daughter is reading it to her father in the evenings as he is recuperating from cancer treatments;
- a man (a nurse visiting Iowa relatives) bought the book and stayed up all night reading it; then, after he returned home to California, called my parents to say he thought it was "phenomenal."
Each time I hear a story like those above, I'm reminded that I will never know all the people who have read Involuntary Joy -- when, how or why -- or even what reading it has meant to them. Nor should I. My story becomes theirs to take in. Its words mix with their experiences, enriching my life because it has privately--and very personally--enriched theirs.
What an honor -- then, now and everytime it happens -- whereever, whenever and however it happens.