Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ISWG: What I Learned from Precious Ramotswe

As I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break, I’ve been catching up with my reading for grownups and devouring the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I started it years ago, but somehow got
sidetracked and never finished. Now I’m almost to the end of these delightful series about Precious Ramotswe, a traditionally built woman in Botswana, who solves mysteries and loves bush tea. These “feel good” mysteries are so well-written, full of humor, wit and wisdom, that I can’t put them down.

Recently, in The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, Precious gets to meet her mentor, Clovis Anderson, an American detective, who’s written a book about detecting. It’s not just a book Precious refers to occasionally, but one she practically lives by.


At the end of the book, he tells her he has a confession to make, that he’s not all he seems to be. What she says to him moved me to tears.

“But that’s nonsense, Rra. You’re the author of that great book, The Principles of Private Detection. That book is world famous. It’s very important.”

He shook his head—sadly. “No, Mma Ramotswe. The book’s not well known at all. I wrote it, yes, but I couldn’t even get it properly published. So I had it printed privately—just two hundred copies. Eighty of those are still in my garage. We sold about thirty copies, that’s all. I gave away the rest, but somehow one of those seems to have got into your hands. I have no idea how it happened, but it did. The book’s nothing, Mma. Nothing.”…

“Rra,” she said. “You mustn’t say that. You must never, never say that. Even if you had printed only ten copies—five copies, maybe—it would still be a very important book. It has helped us so much, Rra, and in turn we’ve been able to help so many people in our work. Every one of those people, Rra, is happier now because of what you did. Think of that—just think of that.”

There are many days when I’m not sure why I write, why I keep typing away, editing myself into oblivion, keeping sending out queries despite rejections. There was once in my life, in my college years, when I thought I’d give it all up (I’ve had a few other times since), and a dear friend was like Precious to me:

“But you said, Jenni, if only you could impact one person with your writing, that it would be worthwhile.”

I often forget that. I am so thankful for friends who get me back on track and books which inspire me and remind me that writing is not just a hobby, but a calling. Because it doesn’t matter if a hundred million people read my work. It matters if one (though I hope there will be more) are touched.

That, my friends, is why I write.

What inspires you?
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG will be Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!