Why True Courage Books Offers Short Stories at no Cost
It’s all about the shoes! Actually, it’s about a not-very-functional website and a call I made yesterday to the site’s help desk. But most of all, it’s about a guy in Arizona named Brian.
I wanted to buy my husband a pair of Converse sneakers online. You can “design” your own by changing different parts of the Chuck Taylors to different colors, very cool. The problem is that the site doesn’t work properly. I kept getting stuck on a particular screen. Frustrated, I called Nike’s customer service (they own the Converse brand).
It turned out that Brian (the call center guy) chatted with me for over an hour. Yes, he went overboard to unravel the process of designing the sneakers (good luck if you follow link!) I hoped to buy. And his hard work paid off–the sneakers are on order. But the universe had bigger plans for both of us.
While we waited for various pages to load, we got to know one another. Brian, it turned out, is a writer of science fiction stories and poetry. He was really interested in me, my own stories, and what I had to say about coaching writers to do their best work. But I was no less interested and inspired by talking to him.
–Actually, I started this post on Friday. I began by describing how my goals for my own fiction have changed. I used to think I wanted admiration for my work…but several years of pursuing this left me feeling isolated and discouraged.
Over time, it dawned on me that what I really want for my stories is to share my heart with readers who share their hearts with me.
The best way to connect with readers is to make my stories available myself, no strings attached, and to give readers a way to interact with me through my website or email. Publication in a fine literary journal is great, and I’m thankful for every editor who’s accepted my work over the years. It turned out, though, that in several cases I still have no idea if anyone actually read my published story.
Brian was the embodiment of what it’s all about…when he asked what my stories are like, I spontaneously came up with a unifying theme. I’d never actually tried to work that out before, but I said this: My stories are about how people’s ideals–whether personal, relationship, or spiritual ideals–are at odds with the reality of their lives, and how they struggle to resolve this dilemma.
This surprise connection with Brian at the Nike call center over a shared love of stories and writing still has a magical feel to me. In the end, he helped me design a great pair of Converse for my husband. But far more valuable was the confirmation that when it comes to writing and stories, we’re both on the right path.
Brian, if you read this, send me one of your own stories, Okay? Remember, you promised me!