Friday, February 29, 2008

Strength and Dignity

                                                                                                                                                                                     Photo Courtesy of Deanna Hershiser
This Monday, at the writers class I attend, our presenter was writer/seller, Dorcas Smucker. My history with Dorcas is quite short, sort of. A few years ago, I read an article of hers in the Sunday paper. I read the paper daily, (well, I read the headlines daily) and it's rare if I read more than one article a day (although I can't say I've ever counted). I don't remember the subject of the story I read, but I do remember I knew right away that I enjoyed her writing. The tone of her writing seemed to reflect that of woman whom I could easily admire. Perhaps it was her candid view of family life, combined with her humility that seemed to capture my attention. Another of her stories that I read was so touching and real, that the honesty of her words caused me to weep.
I don't recall if I'd seen a picture of Dorcas in the paper, but I saw her in person two years ago at a Northwest Writers event at the Eugene Public Library. She was selling books next to one of my favorite authors, Jane Kirkpatrick. I was waiting in line to buy a book from Jane Kirkpatrick and noticed that Dorcas Smucker was right next to her. I was having a dilemma, as there were two “celebrities” standing right next to each other. I admired both of these women, but would I speak to both? Isn't there a “ONE LITERARY CELEBRITY PER DAY” chat rule at book events? I was hoping Jane Kirkpatrick remembered me, yet this chit chat with Jane could interfere with the opportune time to meet Dorcas Smucker. As I had Jane sign the book Emma was purchasing for me, I just played it cool by saying, “Hello” to Dorcas, without introducing myself.
So on Monday, I did introduce myself to Dorcas, as did the rest of the crowd waiting for her to speak. I now think that they didn't really understand her celebrity. I tried to curb my enthusiasm, and didn't mention to her that I enjoyed her writings or that I had begun reading her blog. I didn't even ask her any questions when she asked if we had any for her. Later in the evening, I did ask her if she watched the Jane Austin series on PBS. She kindly replied that she didn't watch television. I tried to dig myself out of my own question by stating something about the videos probably being available at the library. Clearly, I need to brush up on such facts about an author before I make such suggestions.
Here's the one statement that I jotted down from her talk, well, at least I think it was something close to this...
“Society has it's standard of success...just disregard that.”
Dorcas Smucker