I received these emails a few days after my debut novel, The Library of Unfinished Business, launched last week.

“Hi Patricia,

I loved your book! I couldn’t put it down once I got into it, and finished it last night. I think it’s brilliant the way you handle the plot with all its twists and turns, keeping me holding on to my seat as I went on a roller coaster ride!

You don’t miss a beat, and the jokes keep coming and surprising. I love the notes! they are so pithy and witty.

But more than that, there is a deeper layer, about relationships, the pain of unfinished business, and the potential for resolution. The message that love is what matters. This message passed in through the pores of my skin as I read, almost unaware that it was happening.

…after finishing and being filled up with the redemption in the story, I found myself softening around a current piece of unfinished business with someone dear to me … Somehow a larger perspective has opened up, for which I am thankful.

Such was the hidden alchemy in The Library of Unfinished Business.”

“Patricia,

Oh boy.

It’s stunning. It’s SO good. I’ve just finished it, and I have honest tears in my eyes. I’m sure you know how much the end of your acknowledgments would’ve pulled at me, and after reading your wonderful story about a dead parent and their child trying to stay in some sort of contact over the void … well let’s just say it hit home.

I loved the characters, the cameos of literally biblical proportions, the quirky & often subtle humour, the sly nods, the bizarre version of the afterlife you created. The importance of books.

It’s so readable, and it pulls you in. I’d already recommended it to people when I was only halfway through!

Honestly, it’s a lovely book. One of few books I’ve read that I feel profoundly better for having read it.

Well done, you should be very VERY proud.”

The reasons I write are many. Some are all about the intense satisfaction it brings me. The fun. The creative adventure. The cathartic expression.

But these emails reminded me that ultimately, I write because it can make a difference.

As I’ve said in a previous post, stories enrich us. Change us. Find a heart in our homes. Make us scream with laughter or sit with sadness. Open our minds. Offer us sanctuary and sustenance.

Several people have told me already that my book has moved them to tears, and then made them laugh out loud. It’s the lamenting and celebrating of the human experience, I think. It’s about finding common threads, hearing our own hearts in the words on a page, and, ultimately, knowing that we are not alone.

Writers play a role in helping us rediscover our humanity, over and over again.

That is why I write.

And if all this sounds a bit too “noble” for what is, at the end of the day, just a story, let’s not forget that I also received a message last week from a person that said, simply: “I found the bananas!”

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