Possibly the very best moment of the BEA experience: trolling down a side aisle, I spy a tiny girl at a booth. I am sure she’s someone’s kid, parked off to the side for the afternoon and watching the milling masses with their overstuffed carry bags slung over aching shoulders.
“Well, hello there,” I say, sure she’ll be happy to have anyone at all acknowledge her at all.
Then she lays it on me: “Would you like me to sign a copy of my book?”
“Your what?” I don’t get it. This is a child, and a solemn little one at that.
She doesn’t blink. “My book.”
“You wrote a book?” Okay, I’m obviously trolling through an alternate universe. “How old are you?”
“I wrote it when I was five.” She looks to be about seven now. “I wrote it because I have a special hand.”
When I don’t seem to get it, she points to her right hand. And she’s absolutely right: it is a special hand. Several fingers are missing, an obvious birth defect. I smile, knowing I want to cry for her, but she doesn’t need this. She needs to know if I would like her to sign a book for me.
“Yes, I would like it very much if you would sign your book.” And she does. Very tiny script with her good left hand: <3 Grace
As I turn away, she has another question: “Do you have a business card?”
I do, in three different designs. My name, email and phonenumber. With a feather, a flower or a cupcake illustration. I like the cupcake best. So does she.
And she smiles. And I feel better about coming to BEA. Because I’d met Grace. And I did have a business card to offer her. And it has cupcakes all over it.
The Gift of Grace by Grace Mary McClelland and Nancy Moskovitz, Wild Onion Press (2011). 2011 Silver Medalist, Nautilus Awards Continue reading