I have been overwhelmed by the support and feedback from family, friends, and strangers since Welcome, Anybody came out in February.
Of course my ego is highly gratified by all the kind words, but it’s not about that. What is truly gratifying is that words I write on paper can reach another person in a way that makes them respond emotionally.
This first happened when I was doing my final reading for graduation at Goddard. Each graduate had to read for 15 (terrifying) minutes in front of all of the MFA students and all the friends, family, faculty, and community gathered for graduation.
I read my story Universal Girlfriend. (I still remember my friend Tim sitting dead center in front of me whispering “breathe, just breathe”).
When I was done, I was so relieved that I didn’t notice if there was any applause or not. But I do remember a woman I didn’t know came up to me and told me “that story was totally about me.”
I’ve think about that often (since 2001!) when I feel like I am writing into the wind.
Here are some of the nicest things I’ve heard lately. I share them not to brag, but to embroider them in space. And no, they aren’t all from friends and family.
- “You exceeded my (high) expectations. Bravo.”
- “Stories show extraordinary talent. Enviable command of structure & character, of detail. You’re as good a story teller writing today as I’ve read anywhere.”
- “The author gives us so many vivid characters that jump off the page and come alive in our consciousness!”
- “Having read three of your stories, I love the way you convey so much with so few words. You have a really nice economy with them.”
- “My friend (the one I bought your book for, and you signed it)…LOVED the book!! She says she wants more, and she was sad when she finished the stories.”
- “The craft and quality of the writing is amazing, as I truly felt in tune with the stories. (My favorite is Small of Her Back, that story blew me away.)”
- “I loved that frog story. I keep thinking about it.”
- “Finished your book….had a running narrative on top of the story. Like oh that must have been your favorite haunt in SF, a memorable barista at Peets that made you laugh. I bet you cried when you wrote this line. Or struggled over and over to phrase that part just right. Thanks for being real and true and you.”
- “I don’t normally read fiction, but I liked your stories and one of them made me laugh outloud in public!”
- “McConnell engages the reader from the first sentence to last and leaves the reader asking “and then what happened?”
- “A friend I let read your book wants to know if you had a wild past?”
- “Yes, the stories all go together, but the arc of them, over the course of the book, wow, that’s the great trick here. Totally frakkin’ awesome.”
Thank you to everyone for all their kind thoughts and words and support!