She calls herself the piano lady and she came to my house to inspect the 9-inch scratch I accidentally caused across the lid of our grand piano.
And before she left, she made my day, and it had nothing to do with a miracle fix for the scratch—which she isn’t sure she can repair. She’ll get back to me about that.
When she asked to take my contact information again, I handed her my business card.
She looked at it. “I know this name –,” she said.
“When I heard your message on my machine, I knew I’d heard that name somewhere before, but just couldn’t remember exactly where . . . ”
This, of course, caught my attention, as being a freelance writer for my city’s newspaper and area magazines kinda’, sorta’ came to mind.
I explained to her about the weekly column that I and another freelance colleague supply to on an alternating basis.
Her expression lit up at that, but still didn’t hit solid pay dirt.
“Did you by any chance publish a book of short stories . . . about Midwest living or something like that? Something about Walking Beans Wasn’t Something You did with Your Dog, or . . .?”
My head and heart smiled. I’m fairly sure I was smiling on the outside, too.
I told her the book wasn’t solely mine, but that I was one of the contributors and that my story “Small Town Ghosts” closed out the collection.
“Oh, yes!” she said, finally connecting all the dots. “I love that book. I can read a few stories at a time, and one of the writers even has the same last name as mine, so I started checking into it to see if we might be related . . .”
We visited briefly about this possible family connection to another of the contributors to the book, and I filled her in on Shapato Publishing and its founder and how these Midwest anthology books came about.
“I don’t remember where my copy of the book came from,” she said, “but you signed it.”
I loved the concept of all these short stories written by Midwesterners about local history, family tales of hardships as well as good times, remembrances of world wars or The Great Depression, coming together under one title. I did everything I could to bring the book to light in my city, and did so with success, finding venues and outlets for selling copies.
I enjoyed doing small group talks promoting the book and speaking on the importance of getting personal family history and stories down on paper, or on tape—any way possible–before the elder ones in our families are gone, taking their stories and impressions with them.
It was time to conclude this piano-investigative appointment—and what I viewed as a godsend of a conversation about a bit of my writing.
She looked at my card again. “So. You are a writer,” she said. “I like the way you spell your name.”
Another conversation commenced about how I switched life gears when I realized the old way of office-world life appeared to point my creative life to an early death.
She shared how she, too, restarted her life after the death of her husband.
“I was too young to not do anything,” she said. “I knew I could learn something new, so I learned how to tune and repair pianos.” That was 13 years ago.
My freelancing brain is always on the prowl. There might be a story here. Ask her. Which I did. She hesitated, but finally said she’d think about it.
I pointed to my card. “Let me know what you decide.”
I hope she’ll locate her equipment for buffing out that unwelcome scratch across my black lacquered beauty. I also hope she’ll let me write an article about her new career one day soon.
But I have to say, to have someone come into my home for one reason, and make the connection back to something I wrote made for a really fine day—piano scratch be hanged.
Writing is good and therapeutic and all that. And I’ve heard people say they write only for themselves. Well—not all of us want to stop there. We want to write for you. We like writing for you.
And we love it when you take the time, not only to read it, but when you will talk with us about it.
And if we get lucky enough to have someone like what we wrote–well—that’s just pure butter crème on our cake.
Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I mean that sincerely. You have other things you can, need or have to read today. So—really. Thank you for today.