It’s funny how serendipitous events have played such a huge role in my life. Well, that’s probably true of everyone—how you met your spouse, how you decided on a career, how you met your best friend. Come to think of it, all the best things in life seem to happen by accident, not by plan, right?
The picture above represents a sweet little piece of serendipity and maybe a little more. In the picture, Nora from UPS is delivering copy #1 of my latest thriller, STILL NOT DEAD. She came to my house last Thursday. You might ask, how do I know her name and how did I get her picture?
Let me back up. Half the job of an author is writing an excellent book. And if the author is interested in having anyone read her or his book, the other half of the job is selling the book. Many authors would rather just write and have nothing to do with selling. I can understand that. But selling comes naturally to me. I love to meet and talk to readers, book shop owners, other authors—to me, that’s fun.
Can I Take your picture?
So, I had it in my head that when my last book, NOT SO DONE, came out. I would keep an eye out for the ubiquitous Amazon truck. If I was lucky, happened to see the driver pull up, and snapped a picture, I could then post it on my website and Instagram, etc. Since my desk where I write looks through a window onto my driveway, I figured the odds were pretty good I’d see the truck arriving. After all, I knew when Amazon promised NOT SO DONE on a particular Tuesday, I’d be extra alert waiting for my chance.
Later, on the expected day, a beat-up station wagon pulled into my driveway, and a young woman, obviously in a hurry, leaped out of the car with the package. I greeted her in the driveway, but I thought, there’s no picture here. Also, she seemed so harried, I decided not to slow her down with conversation.
A year later, last week, I got a second chance. Around 1:00 PM, the UPS truck swerved around the turn in the driveway facing my home. I ran down the stairs as the driver sorted through the packages, looking for mine. When she emerged from the truck holding the brown envelope containing my book, I asked, “Can I take your picture?”
She said, “Sure.”
I snapped the photo and asked, “What’s your name?”
She said, “Nora,”
I ripped open the envelope and said, “Nora, thank you so much for delivering my latest novel. I wrote it.”
“What? You’re an author?” she asked. “What kind of books?”
“Thrillers,” I said. And she proceeded to tell me about her book club that has been meeting for twenty-six years. I offered, as I do, to speak at one of her meetings. We exchanged contact information.
Then last night, I got a delightful email from Nora inviting me to her book club’s November meeting. Of course, I’m going. In my RSVP to Nora, I shared the same sentiment that I started this story with–that the best things in life seem to happen by accident. Did she agree?
But Nora’s response was even more insightful. She replied, “While like you, I do believe some of the best things happen by accident, I am a firm believer (and strongly instilled to my kids) that you have to put yourself in a position for good things to happen!”
Nora’s pretty special and I totally agree. I have found by putting myself out there, starting up conversations with strangers, helping others, and getting involved in my community, good things seem to happen. In this case, I started it with, “Can I take your picture?”
For me, the other takeaway is that you never know what that person who serves you in a restaurant or stands behind you in line, or sits next to you at the movies, what their life story is. Many of the people who enrich our lives and perform important tasks like nurses in the hospital or the cable repairman or the person behind the counter at the hardware store or your UPS driver do their work diligently and anonymously.
Maybe next time you encounter one of these silent heroes, ask them, “Can I take your picture?” It might surprise you what happens next…
Other Thrillers by Charles Levin:
NOT SO DONE – paperback from Amazon – ships in one to two days
Order the Ebook – read immediately
Kindle Unlimited – read immediately
Audible Audiobook – listen immediately
NOT SO DEAD Trilogy – Kindle/ebook and Kindle Unlimited – Boxset of all 3 Sam Sunborn Novels.
Read for FREE some of Charles Levin’s short stories: