A month ago, a tattered box arrived at my door. Tattered because it had traveled a great distance—all the way from Italy. It was a package I’ve been waiting a very long time for. That box contained seven copies of my first published novel. The only trouble, of course, being that the book is printed in Italian and—well—I can’t read it. Still, the arrival of those seven books caused quite a stir in my house. There were many squeals and photos and toasts raised as one would expect. What I didn’t know to expect, though, was the response I’d receive from Italian readers.
Social media has made the world seem like a much smaller place, hasn’t it? If I had written the same book some ten or fifteen years ago, I might have received a letter or two in the mail. Because of the time we live in, though, I’m able to get almost instant feedback from Italians who—for one reason or another—have reached out to me after reading my book.
It’s quite fun to open my Facebook each day and find new friend requests from women with names like Elisabetta and Gianna and Luca. More fun than that is it to find my inbox filled with notes from women who live half a world away and yet so intimately relate with the story I’ve written that they want to share their thoughts with me and hear mine in return.
I don’t fancy myself to be much more than a wife and mom living a quiet life in the dusty desert of Tucson. What, then, might I have in common with cultured European women who speak multiple languages and live in age-old cities and have easy access to the most famous museums and historical sites and ancient structures in the entire world? Truthfully, I have more in common with them than you might think.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about the women I’ve connected with: most of them are moms like me. Most of them want to share the struggles and triumphs of motherhood. Most of them are completely relatable. Sure, they might live within walking distance of The Coliseum, but that does not in the least change what matters most to them. That is: the beliefs they hold to be true, the dreams they dare to dream and the people they love.
The publication of my book has been a most rewarding experience for so many reasons. Perhaps the most surprising thing, though, are the discoveries I’ve made in acquainting myself with several distant readers and the reminder that this world we live in isn’t such a big place after all.