It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.” ~ Author unknown
Two years ago, while I was looking for a literary agent, I set up profiles on every site that could help me get in touch with the right representative; along with the benefits of exposure, also came the less appreciated, infamous e-mails from the sites which regularly clog my inbox.
One morning, about a year or so ago, I received yet another notification of a new member signing up. Instead than deleting the message on sight - as I habitually did after I no longer needed to find an agent - that morning I felt compelled to click on the link. When the page opened, I stared at four profiles: two poets, an agent whose niche was young adult fiction, and a novelist, Renee Otis. Renee had opened a profile to either get the attention of an agent or to get suggestions from fellow writers. On her profile was a short synopsis of her novel – slave ghosts, ancient traditions, a psychic nurse, a comatose man who mentally communicated with her; in short, her novel had all the ingredients for a good story – so I wrote to her, and we began exchanging thoughts. In time, she sent me her novel to read and comment on, and I loved it! As fate had it, she soon signed up with one of my friends who had gone on to open a literary agency of her own after working as an agent assistant for a while.
The day before yesterday I had a surprise. I checked my messages and read that Renee had sent me a note on Facebook; she was coming to Raleigh for a week of training and wanted to know if we could meet. Initially, she was supposed to go to Philadelphia, but at the last minute the schedule had changed and she was sent to North Carolina.
I was very excited to meet her in person; over time we had virtually shared hopes, dreams and fears, and now we had the chance to meet face to face. We decided to meet at the hotel she stayed at, and spent a wonderful hour and a half talking over a glass of wine. If someone there was listening to us, they would have thought we had always known each other – we talked about our current projects and about the woes and wows of the publishing world, but our conversation derailed several times to other topics, and it was absolutely amazing to see how two perfect strangers who had never before met in person could be so instantly connected and comfortable with one another.
Since we both had to be up early I didn’t stay long, but we made plans to possibly get together again before she leaves town. As I drove home I thought of how strange life is sometimes, and how wonderful. If I hadn’t clicked on that link the year before, I never would have known Renee exists – though I am sure I would have discovered her later on once her amazing novel makes it to the printer – and if her company hadn’t switched schedules, it would have likely been years before we met, if indeed we were meant to meet at all.
Each day has the potential of revealing surprises that might not always be welcome, but it also reserves the right to treat us with unexpected blessings when we least expect them; the trick, I suppose, is to remain open to all we can receive.
In this case, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet someone extremely talented, with whom I share many of the same interests, whose name I will see listed some day on the New York Times list of best-selling novelists. For now, I am just happy that a link on a message led me to someone so dear.