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Missing the Mystery

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

Among the many things in our lives that have, understandably, changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most impactful for me was the loss of local social events such as Murder by the Book. The Jesup Memorial Library here in Bar Harbor graciously invited me two years in a row to attend this event as a local author, first self-published, and then represented by my agent Lori Galvin.

I've always loved libraries and the way that they feel both sacred and like a home. As a child, my mother would take me to the library in Dexter, where I grew up, and I'd return home with a stack of books almost unreasonably high. I spent my summers alternating between playing outside and reading in the corner seat of a sectional couch, the light on overhead, my fingers flipping through the pages as quickly as I could devour them. I had my own library card, I played the games meant to encourage summer reading like I was in Vegas, and as I finished one section after another, I was invited to indulge in more difficult books every year, both by my mother and by library staff. To this day, there are words I can use correctly and spell but have never said aloud- and may do so incorrectly. Such is the mind of an avid reader.

In the span of a couple of years, I worked my way from R.L. Stine to Stephen King without missing a beat, my mind winding around the stories and characters as I continued, even from a young age, to always form my own. I had loved both reading and writing for as long as I can remember, and to this day, when I am asked what my hobbies are, these are the first two things I say.

Murder by the Book was a bit of a "fangirl" moment for me. I had gone to a Stephen King reading as a child with my parents (and even got to ask him what he was afraid of... spoiler alert: his own basement!) But apart from that one small connection, authors were an elusive sort of celebrity that fascinated me. Who were these people, who were so very alike me and yet also so very different? How was it that we were formed into people who had these ideas, stories, non-existent people in our brains, clawing to come out and meet the world? I couldn't wait to meet everyone, both years. While I can't deny the imposter syndrome (and, neither will they, as it turns out), I felt so accepted and immediately welcomed into the fold that there was no question in my mind that I somehow belonged.

I figured out a lot about myself during the days I spent at Murder by the Book. I realized I have a greater fear of looking silly at a fancy dinner than I do of public speaking (try to figure that one out), that I've never really perfected my signature (and still am shocked that anyone asked for it), that I am HORRIBLE at coming up with the name of an author or the title of a book on the fly when asked to give an example during panels, and that I want to write for the rest of my life.

Being an artist of any medium is unique in the sense that you are rarely competing. I just spoke to another author last week who mentioned the same thing- a sentiment I had felt for so long, both in the room with authors and on my own while writing. You cannot compete with creativity. There is a place for everyone who wants to join in, and best of all, there's an understanding and acceptance of everyone's attempts and differences. It's really a beautiful thing.

I look forward to when these events can take place again, and sincerely hope that I will be invited to take part in the journey once more.

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