Lorna and I met on Craigslist. Our group needed an office mate, and Lorna, having just moved to Fort Collins, responded to an ad, calling me on my day off. We arranged a time to tour the office a few hours after the phone call. While on the phone with Lorna, I googled “Lorna Hecker” and found a college professor at Purdue who had written two books. Clearly “my Lorna Hecker” was not the professor, and as such I arrived in shorts and a tank top, already knowing this officemate thing would not work out. Again. I did, however, arrive 10 minutes early, planning to get a random task done at the office.
When I arrived at the office, Lorna was already there, dressed in a suit (in August!), with a one page handout about who she was, and why this office would be a good fit. I had met my match. I casually yet bluntly mentioned, “I googled you. So, you wrote a couple books?” In a casual tone but with steel in her voice said, “Nine. I have written nine books.” Our 15 minute tour lasted an hour and a half. She took the office.
About a month later, Lorna said, “I’m meeting with my publisher. [We] should submit a proposal.” (I heard WE, she probably said YOU. This ends up mattering quite a bit, those pronouns.) I said something along the lines of no, I’m tired and busy, and I also knew that co-writing a book with a stranger was a bad idea, a very bad idea. She said, “It would fit well with my series.” After a week I said, “It can’t fit with your series, and here is why.” She said, “Ok” and didn’t push it. Another week later I said, “The book would have to look like this.” Lorna said, “I cannot see your vision, but I’ll mention it to the publisher.”
After Lorna’s meetings with the publisher, she said the publisher expressed an interest, and here was the paperwork for me to submit a proposal. I looked at her quizzically, and said, “ME? I thought this was a WE? I’m not writing a book without you!” That pronoun thing: I/We had returned to the conversation. And when I said WE I meant 46 writers, providing imperative insights about life on the spectrum and appropriate treatment interventions. Poor Lorna. I bet she sometimes wishes she hadn’t responded to that Craigslist ad.
Fast forward to June 2020. (I bet you know exactly where you were in June 2020…someplace in your house, feeling trapped.) Our book was released. We were following Covid-19 protocols and as such cancelled our celebration plans. (We HAD planned to have a ride in a hot air balloon. Still might happen.)
Fast forward to August 2022. (ha! You should STILL know where you are, since this is NOW.) Lorna and I are taking Friday off to hang out, connect, do a thing…and celebrate. Yep, Lorna and I are finally celebrating our book, a book that is unique, creative, innovative, and really would not be, save for the fact that Lorna showed up, with a handout, looking for office space.
Thank you, Lorna, for being my office mate, for believing in a book that made no sense to you, for being a WE with a stranger, and then allowing our WE to extend to a team of 46 writers. I think your handout worked!