I left off yesterday telling about my experience with some suspicious behavior of a last minute ACFW attendee. Here’s the last installment on what’s becoming a book in itself!
Saturday morning after breakfast I went to the lobby to meet with my agent. We’d been trying to find a time in his jammed schedule to meet and his last free time was at 8:30 am, during the main session. So I finished breakfast and in typical fashion (without kids in toe) I showed up ten minutes early. So I sat and relaxed and waited…wondering if I might run into my stalker. And wouldn’t you know, but who passes by, does a double take and sits down on the couch next to my chair? You got it, leather dude, who I later found out was named David.
He opened the conversation asking if I was teaching any more classes. I had to think twice because I really didn’t think of myself as a teacher, but then remembered I taught the late night chat just last night. I mentioned I was waiting to talk to my agent, and he said to just kick him out when my agent showed up. So we chatted and he didn’t seem threatening, in fact, I got to hear a condensed version of his testimony and how Jesus visited him at an early age, then he fell away and almost 20 years ago, he rededicated his life to Jesus and now God gave him this testimony to write. He felt led to go to ACFW because the initials of his book title spelled ACFW and he felt it was a sign from God. He also knew he needed to tell someone his story and he thought that someone might be me.
So I listened with genuine interest and didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. His genuine love for God and belief that he had a best seller on his hands was childlike and it reminded me why I was writing and pursuing fiction. To touch lives for Jesus. But talking to him also reminded me that we don’t have to be published to touch lives. I’m sure God used me to encourage this out-of-his-element writer to press on…
Towards the end of our conversation my agent (whom I had briefly in jest told I had a stalker) shows up, eyes the guy talking with me like he was ready to tear into him if need be and then looks at me. I gave him an it’s-okay-really look and David jumps up and introduces himself to my agent, then goes on his way. That was the last interaction I had with him, and maybe that was all it was meant to be. Maybe I encouraged a best selling author, or maybe I encouraged an enthusiastic writer. No matter what, I didn’t ignore this out-of-place guy, instead I watched with caution and opened up my heart to what God wanted to do through me.
Later that day, I got to encourage a discouraged pastor with my personal testimony about how I was pursuing publication to no avail and watching my critique partners win awards and get publishing contracts. Me…a SAHM of four encouraging a pastor? But God can and will use anyone who’s willing!
That’s one of the best things about ACFW and writer’s conferences. Sure, the editor requests are amazing and really help validate you as a writer, but nothing beats walking up to a first time attendee, standing all alone in the corner, fretting over their next appointment and offering a smile and genuine interest in them and their writing.
I hope I never forget how it felt to be knew and alone and so unsure of myself. I hope I never get to big in my own eyes that I forget the reason I write!