I met Gary after writing my first book, “I am amazed.” He lived in the word. A master of selling books because he loved them. In a sea of words floating on the shelf, he could quote any, find any, recommend any, and still, he loved mine. For this first time author, it was a joy, a privilege. He was my Statue of Liberty, welcoming me into a brand new world.
It was my first book-signing at the Borders bookstore. His smile stretched wider than the arms he put around me. He gathered me into his store, and then into his story. He told me that he had HIV. How he got it. He told me of his love for bicycles, racing. His partner. He read passages out of my book aloud, the ones that touched his heart, and I was in. Each word was a key into his world.
I got to run around Gary’s world for many years. I did book signings with him. He came to my art shows. He sold my painting, “An imperfect life.” And wasn’t he living it??!! Really living it!
After Borders closed, I followed him to the Uptown bookstore. I can still smell the books, hear his nervous laughter, almost a giggle that seemed surprised that he was lucky enough to live within these words and phrases.
Gary died a few years ago. I didn’t get to say goodbye. This made my heart sore for a moment, this not saying goodbye, but I have found more joy in knowing that I got to say HELLO!
What a privilege to connect with people. All of us living these completely different, glorious and imperfect lives. Let someone in. Let someone go. After you’ve seen it all, you won’t remember the windows and doors, but who passed through.