Takes a Village

So tonight is my very first author chat on my Facebook page--and all you amazing readers are warmly invited to participate! Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chitra-Banerjee-Divakaruni/123916900105.

Anyone who joins the page can take part in the chat.  Just post your comments & questions on the wall, and I'll answer. You'll have to be patient because I'm not the most tech-savvy person. (But my wonderful webmaster, Anirvan Chatterjee, founder of bookfinder.com, and his equally wonderful wife Barnali have assured me that I can do it.)

I owe Anirvan BIG thanks--he set up my website way back, when I didn't even know how important it was to have one & has maintained it with loving care ever since. He and Barnali helped hugely with setting up my Facebook page, including putting up the book cover photos, and he set up this blog as well and came up with the gorgeous golden Amer Fort image on top of the page. He's so modest/ethical that he won't even let me put a bookfinder link on my website, but folks, do check out the service: Jacqueline Deval, writer of An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves,  says it's the best book search service on the net.(p 221)

Deval's book is very helpful, by the way, filled with great ideas for writers.

The other day I read Malcolm Gladwell's The Outliers in my book club (I belong to one, too) & it made me think about how we owe our success to so many people. How much we have to be thankful for.

When I was in my 20s (yes, ancient history),  I was visiting The Divine Life ashram in Rishikesh, and Swami Krishnananda, a great monk, asked me, "What do you want in life?" At that time, independence was a big deal for me, so I said, "I want to never be dependent on anyone." He laughed and laughed, and when he stopped, he said, "My dear, you couldn't exist on this earth for one single moment if countless beings weren't supporting you."

As I grow older I understand the truth of what he said a little better. It certainly applies to whatever writing success I've achieved.

So many people have formed my "village."

My superb agent Sandra Dijkstra, the original power-lady, who performs her magic from out west in San Diego, ( I'm going to see her this weekend when I'm there on tour) and who's believed in me from the time I only had  3 stories.

My many perceptive editors, especially Barbara Jones, who's so patient and intelligent--she's working with me on One Amazing Thing. And Barbara, you've made the process at once fun and soul-searching.

Murthy, my most supportive husband, who takes over mommy duties when I go on tour. (Sorry, sweetheart, for saying "Do I tell you how to be an engineer?" when you offer suggestions about improving my writing.)

My sons, whom I call on for help of many kinds: ("Boys, what's a better word for..?"  "Boys, my computer screen just went BLANK!" "Boys, the dog has to be taken out--this instant!")

All my spiritual teachers, whom I mention in the acknowledgments in my books. I can't put into words what they've meant in my life.

My 85 year old mother who insists on living on her own in our ancestral village in Bengal and who taught me the meaning of self reliance.

My 84 year old mother in law, who has never said one mean thing to me, not once in the 29 years I've known her.

The great writers from whose books I've learned so much.

The list goes on.

And on that list is you, dear reader. Without you, how could I be an author at all?