Hi Wickeds. This month we’ve said thank you to teachers, family members, and mentors in life. But have you ever had an experience where a stranger stepped up with the right piece of advice, or a helping hand at exactly the moment you needed it? Tell us about that here.
Julie: The kindness of strangers. Where would we be without it? I’ve absolutely benefited from being in a conversation and getting great advice from a stranger. When I was in college, I also had a stranger step in when I was being harassed on the street, and I’ll always remember that. (I try to do the same for folks now.)
Edith: In 1975 I had my BA but had dropped out of a graduate seminar my prof wanted me to take because it felt too challenging – I didn’t think I had the chops to do graduate work. I was on a cross-country bus trip from Seattle to NYC and sat by a short woman, also in thrift store clothes, a couple of years older than me. She said she was in a doctoral program studying the effect of women’s counseling centers on lesbians’ mental health. I listened to her and thought, if she can do it, I can. I enrolled in a PhD program in linguistics two years later. She changed my life and I don’t even know her name!
Sherry: That is a wonderful story, Edith! I’ve talked about this before, but Julie was a stranger when she told me to join Sisters in Crime and go to Crime Bake when I moved to Massachusetts in 2005. That chance meeting at Malice Domestic changed my life and I will always be thankful for Julie’s generosity to everyone she meets.
Barb: I’ve told this story before, too. When I worked as a freelance title examiner my old law firm hired me to serve a supoena. Which was ridiculous. I don’t know why they asked me and I don’t know why I said yes. Anyway, the person I was supposed to serve lived in a brand new condominium complex back in the days when the idea of condominiums in the suburbs was very new. So there I was, this anxious young girl wandering around this complex where none of the streets were marked and none of the townhouses had numbers in the middle of the day and there wasn’t a soul in sight. Then, a older mailman appeared out of nowhere and asked me if I was lost. “You lookin’ for one of them pandemoniums?” he asked. “I’ll show ya.” As we walked along he asked me why if I was doing this, I wasn’t studying to be a lawyer. I told him I didn’t want to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a writer, but it was very hard to do and very hard to make a living. “Don’t worry about that,” he said. “The cream will always rise.” Then he deposited me at the front door of the place I needed to be and walked out of my life. “The cream will always rise,” has helped me at many points in my life when I was experiencing a fear of failure.
Readers: How about you? Have you ever benefited from the kindness of a stranger? Tell us your story or just say “hi” to win a copy of my latest Clambake novel, Steamed Open. Giveaway is open to all geographies.