While my second book has been making its debut, my first book has been making new friends. This morning at church, I learned that Letters to Saint Lydia just made it into a public school library here in Washington, one of the more secular states in the US. And the story of how it came to be there was the best part.
A teenage friend of mine, who read Letters to Saint Lydia shortly after it came out, loaned the book to a classmate. Her classmate, who isn’t Orthodox, read the book and loved it so much she went to the school librarian and asked her to order it for the school library. And the librarian ordered it!
Not long before this, I learned that Letters to Saint Lydia was included in the Greek Archdiocese 2012-2013 Orthodox Christian Resource Catalog.
Over and over, this book reminds me of how little I have to do with it all. I wrote the book, every last word, and I lived inside the conversation between Lydia and Saint Lydia for months while doing so. I scrawled bits of their dialog on all kinds of scraps, napkins, sides of boxes. But I always felt like I was listening and writing. I expected writing to be more about wholesale creation, from thin air. But it wasn’t. It was pieces of things, coming together, fragments of memory and perception, and sometimes just their voices, talking to each other, in my mind.
Perhaps this is partly why I’ve always felt like Letters to Saint Lydia has a life of its own. It fell from the sky into my life, and so many things changed, big things and tiny things. Everything. Blessings came with the changes, over and over again. Doors kept opening at just the right moment, and helpful people kept appearing in the nick of time. I felt very close to Saint Lydia, who is my patron, while I was writing, and I missed this strong sense of her presence when the book was finished. But perhaps she hasn’t gone very far after all. I like to think she might have a hand in each new thing, the teen and the librarian, the education catalog, things I don’t even know about yet, and maybe never will.
If she does, I’m thankful to her.