Paying it Forward

In an attempt to market my book to a broader market, I set up a table at the local Mining Association Trade Show to promote my book, Pedro’s Pan.

I didn’t go into this expecting to sell a lot of books, but it was an opportunity to branch out to people in the industry both locally and globally.

What came as a total surprise was a native man who was at the trade show representing his tribal corporation. He picked up my book as many people do and started to skim it. He was about to put it down, then flipped the page. Within moments he was totally engrossed in the story.

When he was done, he closed the book and said, “I’ll take one!”

As I happily signed it, he began to tell me his story. “I can write something like that. I don’t mean any disrespect. I just realized that I could tell my story.”

“As I read your book, I can see me teaching my son his culture through stories. I can teach him the processes. The struggles. To persevere.”

“My culture is struggling to maintain and remember who we are and the old ways. I can write stories that can share that with others.”

We talked about diverse voices and own voices and the need for them. He lives in remote Alaska, but I shared how he can write and find a voice for his culture and how important that is for not only his family, but the world.

His uncle, an elder in his tribe, came by and he excitedly shared his idea with his uncle. His uncle grinned from ear to ear telling him it was a great idea.

The man clutched my book and before he left said, “I will read this book to my son, but it is really for me. I will look it and be inspired to tell my stories.”

That left with goosebumps.

If you had told me that I would have inspired a native man to tell his culture’s stories through his son and I would have met him at a mining trade show, I wouldn’t have believed you.

If you would have told me how it made my heart sing to hear is excitement, I would’ve likely rolled my eyes at you.

But today I am humbled. I truly hope he does tell his stories and that one day he will get into contact with me so I can help him on his journey and pay forward the gratitude.

Author: matthewlasley

I am a school teacher and an author. I like to write picture books, middle grade, science fiction and short stories. I live in Alaska and I love history, so those two things often influence my creative writing.

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