Today I received an email from a reader that touched my heart so much. The subject line was simply “Your Impact” and I had no idea what that could mean. She talked about how reading one of my stories, at a time of tragedy had inspired her to look outward and do something, even a little thing, that would touch others.
Let me go back, though…oh…a few years to offer some back story.
You see, when I was a fledgling writer, not published, barely even letting anyone outside my own head read my work, I used to have these daydreams, as all young people do (seriously young—I wasn’t barely into my teens yet). But the daydream was about having someone important, like a talk show host or someone, read my book and interview me about it.
They would ask “Why do you write gay couples? What point are you trying to make with this? You clearly aren’t a gay man, so you must have a message you want to get out there.”
And my reply was always “There is no point. It’s just what I write. I never set out to send a message or make a statement. I just write stories I like and would want to read. I write because all the words are crammed up inside my head and I need them out. Whatever happens to them out in the world, I don’t have to worry about it, because there are more crowding in after that I have to concern myself with. I just write because I must. I write the stories that flow out.”
That was my younger self, being all clueless and esoteric.
Now older and wiser, I don’t know that I would change my answer. I don’t write to an agenda. I don’t have a point I’m trying to make. I just write stories I would want to read, and hope others might want to read them, too. The words are still crowding into my head and still need to be purged. I still write because I must.
And then I got this letter that made me all verklempt, but also made me realize that the why of my profession doesn’t really matter. Whatever I have in my head as the reason I do what I do, the fact remains: people do take a message away. They do react to it, and they do feel the impact. I have no control over what that impact is going to be, but I can’t deny there is one.
Once the words leave my head and the book leaves the publisher, it is out of my hands, but it is nice to know that somewhere, someone might be inspired to go out and do something that is bigger than themselves for people who need it. That, in turn has inspired me to do the same. What form that will take, I don’t yet know. But something will happen.
The reality of art is that it leaves the artist to enter the audience and become something new and ever-changing. If the artist is very, very lucky, they might get a small glimpse of what once belonged to them transforming into something bigger, better and more beautiful than they ever could have imagined, in the eyes of an appreciative beholder.
In the books of this series I have tried to convey how dance transforms me every time I have the privilege of watching it. Dance was never meant to be hidden from view. It’s supposed to be seen and to have an impact on the person watching. So why can’t a book?
Have you ever had that experience where you heard a piece of music, saw a painting, read a book or experience some other art form and as you were appreciating it, you knew you would never be the same?
About the Book
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 29, 2016
Length: 204 Pages
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Purchase Links: DSP || Amazon || ARe || B&N || Kobo
Blurb: Dance, Love, Live: Book Three
Cobalt Winslow lost two loves when his ex-boyfriend, Calvin Denvers, infected him with HIV, taking his health and his place as principal danseur in their New York ballet company when Cobalt became too weak. Now dealing with the aftermath as best he can, Cobalt teaches dance in Toronto with the support of his oldest friends, Conrad and Peridot. The one bright spot in his life is Malory Preston, his brother’s driver and a man who is always there when Cobalt needs him. Kind and attentive, Preston embodies everything Calvin lacks, but Cobalt can’t let go of his unhealthy, long-distance relationship with his ex.
Calvin brings a messy and violent end to their affair, but offers a chance for Cobalt to return to New York—as Calvin’s understudy—just when he’s on the verge of a real and lasting relationship with Preston. Now Cobalt faces a choice between two loves: dancing and Preston. Preston must show Cobalt that he has the power and support to make the life he wants and deserves, no matter what he decides.
Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .