The conversation starts the same way every time I meet a new person who asks what I do.
But today I can say, as an answer to “What do you do?” that I am a world problem-solver. I meet people from one continent on earth and connect them to people on other continents. I have made warm friendships with many of them. More importantly, they have helped each other. As of today I can add the following story with both my sincerity and the wonder of 21st century communication.
The story starts years ago, when three of my stories were published in the Metropolitan Diary column of The New York Times. It was so effortless that I thought submitting articles and having them approved for publication was a snap! I write it, they read it, they publish it, and my resume keeps growing. But those three stories of mine that the Times published were an example of Beginners’ Luck. Since that time I have sent many amazingly brilliant works to various magazines and newspapers. The editors should have jumped to attention, ordered the news room to “Stop the Presses!” and rushed my masterpiece into the next edition.
After a while of going through this frustrating exercise and receiving rejection letters my son suggested, “Why don’t you start a blog? Everything you write will be published, no editors will demand rewrites, and you won’t need an agent.” So I did. It was a great idea, it is great fun, and I have made many wonderful on-line friends whose work I look forward to reading every week.
Today I was responsible for a connection that will hopefully change the direction of someone’s life, and it’s all because of telling two people from other parts of the world that they should contact each other. And here’s why:
A blogger I discovered early in my days of blogging , and whose whose work I very much enjoy is Cecelia, who writes a blog called thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com. Celi was a drama teacher in New Zealand and now lives on a seven acre farm in Illinois. She raises pigs, chickens, cows and bees, and grows all the family’s food.
The second blogger in this story is Uzo, a chemist and story writer from Nigeria who writes a blog called 85degrees.wordpress.com. His stories are exciting thrillers based on tribal laws of his characters. Uzo devoted his recent blog to my book, En Garde, My Battle With Breast Cancer. In that article, after mentioning my book, he says that he is trying to make soap to sell in the markets. Since Nigeria has limited opportunities for employment, and limited manufacturing, an idea that can propel a person to self-employment is advantageous to everybody, including the government.
But the soap making process created a problem that Uzo expressed. I knew from reading Celi’s blog that she makes her own soap and has connections with experienced soap-makers. So I wrote a post to Uzo telling him about Celi and a post to Celi telling her about Uzo. They immediately connected through wordpress and are working on finding a solution to the soap-making process.
That is amazing to me: “Nigeria contacting Illinois!” We keep hearing that “The world is so small.” If more of us could introduce people who could share knowledge and help each other develop skills, it would be a richer place. It is truly uplifting to see how quickly most people respond to the call for help of another human being, and how eagerly they share their expertise with others.
I wish good luck to everyone working hard to come up with that one winning idea, and a real life fairy godmother to come to their aid!