I got a Google alert recently that made me laugh. Actually, it was the second one to make me laugh. I got one last fall that informed me I was dead. It was the obituary of some Annette Lyon in New York. Apparently, she’d lived a good life and was a good cook (definitely not me).
This particular alert informed me of a copy of Spires of Stone for sale at an online shop . . . in AFRICA.
How in the world did it get there, you ask? I think I know. See, about a year ago, I drew a winner for one the contests I run on my website. Turns out she lived in South *#$&#*# Africa. Since I hadn’t said on my contest that I wouldn’t ship internationally, I figured I should send her the book.
(I'm wondering if I'm going to lose a fan after posting this. Hi, if you're reading this! I won't mention your name!)
Shipping the book cost me somewhere around six times what it would have cost to mail somewhere here in the U. S. So while I normally wouldn't bat an eye at someone selling off one of my books, this one had me raising an eyebrow. (And it had me laughing, because really, who is South Africa is going to buy an LDS novel off her?)
So I mentioned the alert to my buddies on the LDStorymakers e-mail list, jokingly saying, “Well, she must have really appreciated the trouble I went to since she’s now SELLING it.”
Their response? Well, let me show you.
I won’t reveal who said what (let's protect the innocent and hilarious . . . okay, one of them is Rachel Ann Nunes . . . she was on a total roll. And there was Julie Wright and Josi Kilpack and Tristi Pinkston and Janet Jensen, and Jewel Adams. But I'll let you guess who is who since these were all off-the-cuff, unedited comments).
Here’s what they had to say on the list as the day wore on. I was laughing myself silly.
Maybe this is one of those moments where she read it, loved it, it was a treasured thing in her home, but now her baby needs medicine and she has no money so she is selling her most prized possession in order to save her child?
Imagine the tears she will cry as she packages up that sacred treasure and knows if she ever comes into money again, she will be buying it back.
Don’t forget that she’s a widow with a hunched back—the fact that she had Internet access is inconsequential.
She had to walk twenty miles on blistering roads, barefoot, uphill both ways, into town where she could use the Internet at the library. She sobbed so much all over the keyboard that she now has to shelve books for twelve hours to pay the library for a new keyboard. It would have been ten, but they wanted to get an ergonomic keyboard instead of just a simple flat one.
And the disease that now afflicts her child is the same one that took her husband's life, so she really, really has to get that medicine.
No, I'll tell you how it went down. She was in her grass hut reading her coveted copy of Spires of Stone when a truckload of armed men came in and demanded that she surrender her valuable possessions.
They looked at your book and thought, "Aha! An American book written by an American woman! Say, this Annette Lyon! I have heard of her! This book will fetch much money. Then we can use the money to help fund our military!"
I'm telling you guys, that's what happened.
Exactly. And on the way to sell the book, the armed men were accosted by an opposing militant group and in the resulting battle everyone died except one young man whose leg was nearly shot off.
He survived by drinking out of an enemy canteen and reading Annette's book. The words took his mind from the pain. After feeling the Spirit, he decided to turn to never hurt anyone ever again. When he was finally rescued, he paid his saviors with his only possessions, the book and the canteen.
The daughter of the couple who found him also read the book and they stayed up late during his days of recovery to talk about the fantastic plot. They fell in love, and the boy wrote her poems inspired by Spires.
Unfortunately, the lady of the house had to trade the book for the dozens and dozens of eggs she needed to make the wedding cake for her daughter's wedding to the boy (they have at least 200 relatives and they have to invite them all, even if they don't have shoes).
The egg lady read the book and loved it so much that she read it aloud to her forty grandchildren. She planned to treasure it the rest of her life, but one of her grandchildren wanted to attend college, and so she gave the book to him, along with several dozen eggs, to sell for tuition so he could learn to be a doctor and treat all his cousins and other relatives.
Now no more would have to die of common illnesses or get gangrene because someone forgot to wash his hands.
The book was sold online by the college student and was bought by a rich man who is trying to bring solidarity and peace to the entire country. He'd wanted the book as a gift for the woman he loved, but the ideas in it were so intriguing that he . . .
. . . he would teach the principles he learned in the book to a camp full of refugees. Somehow the story leaked to the media there. A reporter went out with a camera crew and found the camp of 5000 refugees surrounding the rich man, listening intently as he read from what they were now calling "The Book."
Banners with the Spires of Stone cover and a head shot of Annette donning a tiara made from an elephant's tusks were held up by numerous men wearing leather loincloths with multiple piercings in their noses and lips while the crowd softly chanted the words, "The Lyon cometh."
. . at least they weren't singing “The Lyon Sleeps Tonight.”
Is it any wonder I love hanging out virtually with my writer friends?
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