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Saturday, May 23, 2015

How would you define success?

I just got back from a successful book signing trip to Oklahoma City. Now what do I mean by successful?

You could look at it strictly from  the perspective of financial success, and that would be true. I made enough money to cover the costs of purchasing the books, staying in a hotel, driving to OKC and back, and meals along the way.

But that is not what I mean. For me the most successful moments are those recorded in my memories. You see, it was going back some of my old stomping grounds, and reconnecting with familiar faces and personalities. And it was in a new light, because I was not going back as a doctor, but rather as a friend. To be able to reciprocate the hugs without it being seen as harassment or somehow inappropriate made all the difference. It offered the chance for my former friends and acquaintanences to see me in a new light, as it also gave me the opportunity to see and appreciate them without their professional starch on. We did talk medical stuff, but not with the urgency of having to tell of medical matters which impacted real patients, with real and pressing concerns. And there was a true sense of relaxation, as if my medical fiction could somehow spread a soothing balm on their tired and stressed out souls.

And that is the nature of medical fiction. I believe that for all its gritty realism and drama, it can be a real release, much like picking up the Sunday paper, and sitting down with your favorite hot beverage and reading about the lives of others in the world before going back to it. For that is what I offer - the chance to be in the world of Bob, Judy, Craycroft, Tom, Falma, LeGace and Drachma - but then to be able to put it down and go back to your own very real world.

And there were the completely unexpected bits of my trip, which made it a success for me. There was the occasion of being able to sit down in the world of Credo House, to be able to sit and enjoy the best coffee since college, and to listen in as the discussions of theology got hot and heavy. Then there was the hotel clerk who just happened to be looking for something to read, and the waitress who "had never met any authors," as well as the mother of a precocious fifteen-year-old who had his heart set on becoming a physician. To be able to touch their lives was to me a very special event, which went well beyond my more reasonable expectations of success.

So, a huge thank you goes out to the friends and sundry others in the Oklahoma City area, who let me briefly back into their lives. Enjoy my latest fiction, as I did enjoy the experience!

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