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It’s not often that I take the time to sit quietly and delve into the quiet exercise of turning pages of a novel.  I have never been much of a reader; I tend to use my free time to write and let those with less creative inclinations to digest the lines of prose that are flowing between the covers of the latest best seller.    My wife Alison is a voracious reader and she consumes books like a child eats candy.  We are an interesting couple. We spend our free time together in our family room and oftentimes it is a silent undertaking. She is lying on the couch with book in hand, wrapped in an afghan that Mom knitted years ago. I am sitting at my desk staring blankly at the computer screen trying to summon some creative and uniquely thought out ideas that I can transcend into poetic lines with the hopes of impressing my friends at my local writers’ group.    Rarely does Alison coerce me into reading a book, but yesterday she finished one that she urged me to take a look at.  It was a romance novel and the central characters were Annie and John.      Alison bellowed: “John, you have to read this book, it is a real page turner and you will have it completed by the end of the day.  Please let me know what you think; I am curious as to what you think of the romantic couple.”    The characterizations were strangely familiar to me. It was as if I knew these people first hand. The woman Annie was a composite of all of the women I had dreamed about during my years before I met my lovely wife.  Her lover John hit every nerve in my body.  It was as if I looked in the mirror; everything from the physical characteristics: blue eyes and brown hair; and the personality traits: fun-loving and romantic, was me.  I finished the book later that night and of course as I retired to my bedroom the first words out of Alison’s mouth were, “well what did you think of the book? What was your favorite part and what did you think of the loving couple?” Of course these were leading questions and I knew what Alison was thinking. She simply wanted me to express my amazement about how much alike I was to the main character, John.     I immediately asked Alison, “do you know anything about this author; have you read any of her other books?”

   Alison responded: “She specializes in romance and she writes about loving couples who face insurmountable odds but in the end they more often than not, always unite to fall in love and live happily ever after”.  Alison’s explanation was quite clichéd but in essence it spelled things out to me.    My curiosity had gotten the best of me. Instead of going to sleep, I returned to the family room and turned on my computer and started to search the internet for information about the author whose name is Joan Smith; a pseudonym I assumed.      I found her website and immediately sent her a detailed message describing how caught up I was with the description of her characters in her latest novel: “Heartbeats in the Sand”.     After several days of exchanging messages, we built up a friendly bond. I shared my poetry and Joan gave me glimpses of passages from her upcoming novel.  Joan revealed to me that she lived in Northern New Jersey just twenty miles from where I currently live.  We both decided that a meeting of the minds was in order.  With Alison’s blessing, I embarked on my journey to meet with Joan on a Saturday afternoon.    My legs were rubbery, reminiscent of the feelings I used to have when I would date a woman for the first time.  I was filled with nervous anticipation. I had so many scripted questions in my mind that I wanted to pose to Joan.    I rang the doorbell and was greeted by one of the loveliest women I have ever set my eyes on. My initial sense was one of familiarity but I didn’t know whether that was predicated on our multiple exchange of messages or just the aura that she cast.    “John, how nice to meet you, would you please come in and join me for a cup of tea” was how I remember Joan’s first words to me.      Joan was elegant; about 5’ 9” with long cascading auburn hair which accentuated her sparkly sienna eyes.  Simply stated she was a very classy and attractive woman.    After we exchanged polite introductions, I found myself wanting to get to the question at hand.      “Joan, your character John in Heartbeats in the Sand had a striking resemblance to me. I have never met you before, so I am curious as to what your inspiration was for this character”.    Joan, revealed, “John I wrote the character exactly the way I thought you would be twenty years later”.    “But Joan, I do not understand, how could you write a character about me and you have never met me before”.    “John, we never ever formally met, but I did know you.  We attended the same college and although we never traveled in the same circle of friends, I remember sharing the same lecture hall with you when we took the course Literature and Fine Arts.  I was a bit of an ugly duckling back then and was not very popular and although I tried to catch your eye, you never once looked in my direction.  My memories of you stayed with me all these years and I finally decided to bring them to the surface and share them with my readers.  In fact the woman Annie is me.  Anne is my middle name and I patterned that character after the present day woman that I have become.”    I felt euphoric and flattered at the same time.  

 

End

 

I began my serious writing in August of 1998 after having been a victim of a freak accident in which I had a near-death experience. A second chance at life has been the source of inspiration for much of my writing. I have published five books of poetry, Serendipitous Mindscapes; Barefoot Ballet; Hued Horizons; Dream-Hunters; and Fate's Haven. In my free time I enjoy gardening, landscape design and participating in community service related activities.

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