On vacation in Walla Walla, I stopped to take pictures of a row of gorgeous brooms, as they reminded me of the cover of my poetry collection, Broom of Anger.
The owner of the store, Kim Hedine, and I struck up a conversation. My husband, who grew up in Walla Walla, went to high school with her, so the two of them kind of knew each other already. The first gift he ever gave me, coincidentally, was a trio of the fragrant, mystically named goat milk soap bars she sells in her shop, Midnight Oil.
I told Kim my fascination with the brooms came after working on a cover design for the poetry collection, and we got to talking about what it means to recognize anger as an essential component of the healing process. Like a lot of people, she could relate and had her own story to tell.
I stocked up on perfume, more soap, and a couple of bottles of massage oil. Kim carries some really great products in her cute little Walla Walla shop. It's kind of hard to control yourself from breaking the bank in there. I resisted the cuticle cream because I always get my hopes up too high about cuticle cream, only to be disappointed.
Just as we were leaving, Kim asked if she could get a copy of Broom of Anger.
"It hasn't released yet, but here's a card for my debut novel," I said, reaching into my purse and pulling out a card.
Kim stared at it in disbelief. "Wait a minute..." she said. "I'm already reading this book!" She opened up her purse and pulled out a dog-eared copy of Cat in the Flock, one with the original cover of the cat on the front.
I gestured toward my husband. "You didn't hear about my book from him?" (The two of them are Facebook friends, owing to the high school connection. And he's my biggest fan.)
"No!" she said. "I found it on Amazon. I had no idea!"
After we cleared up that I am indeed the author of the very book she happened to be reading, Kim hugged me and said, "Oh, my God! I love your writing! The twist, and the character Cat... I love it."
I walked around on cloud nine the rest of the day. I think I might still be there, in fact.
The next day, I realized it was dumb of me not to buy that broom, so I went back. On my way there, I ran into my husband, who unbeknownst to me, had just stopped by the store. He'd picked up the cuticle cream, which my sister-in-law had assured us would not disappoint. And he said Kim was trying to get a hold of me for a picture to post on her store's Facebook page.
So we trooped back to Midnight Oil, and this happened: