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At my former workplace, they sometimes held events when authors came in to read and speak with a book signing afterward. For me, meeting an author I admire is a dream come true.

The author at this event was Andre Dubus III, who wrote “The House of Sand and Fog.” The novel was made into a movie with Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. The book was very well-written and received good reviews though it was a difficult topic; the movie did not get an overall favorable reaction because it played up the cultural conflict and deviated from the book. I might not have read it if it weren’t for the event, but I was glad I did.

Andre read an excerpt from a new work, and then gave a talk about writing and about his present experience teaching at a local college, learning to inspire students and questioning his ability to do that. (To be honest, most of his audience at this event were women, and many thought he was quite handsome.)

I stood in line after the talk to get my book autographed. Andre and I had a brief conversation about the book I was reading in my book club, which I found much more depressing than his book. I was feeling emotional that day.

A bit later I was walking through the building’s lobby as he was leaving. I called to him and he stopped to speak to me; I confided to him that his talk and his writing had inspired me. I felt frustrated with my job and told him I had always wanted to be a writer but felt like it would never happen. He encouraged me and hugged me.

One of the other women from my book club had witnessed the exchange and emailed me as soon as I got back to my desk: “How did YOU get a hug from Andre Dubus????” ┬áMy secret…until now.

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