I spent four hours on the road with my best friend returning home from a weekend trip. We had a well-needed weekend away and the drive home was another opportunity to talk without distraction.
When I pulled into my driveway and shut off the car engine, I blew a huge exhausted breath. How tired I was had finally caught up with me, but so had the reason I'd made a four-hour one way trip for a one-day event.
Writers on the River in East Peoria, Illinois, is an author signing event with nearly 80 authors selling, signing, and having the time of their lives with fans and colleagues.
The event, however, has a much deeper purpose.
Writers on the River is the brain-child of the truly dedicated individuals of Healing With Words. Four women created and run this event to raise money to help women from desperate and horrible situations reclaim their lives and be the person she has every right to be.
Authors Jillian Jacobs and Anya Breton, along with Twinsie Talk book bloggers Angie Stanton and Melinda Huff Bones have created one of the most respected and successful author signing events in just three years.
They have a waiting list just to be a signing author.
And while, we as authors, set up our displays to present our work to the public, we are also t
here to make a difference.
Thistle Farms and the Center for Prevention of Abuse benefit from the one-day, four-hour event that raises thousands of dollars for these organizations to change lives. We had lunch as we listened to one woman's journey, knowing there are thousands just like her hoping one day their lives will be different.
We listened. We cried and became more determined than ever because we came face to face with the reality and the groups benefiting were no longer just names on a banner. They have a heartbeat and a soul and scars.
I can say never in my life have I been without a home. Never in my life have I not had food to eat. Never in my life has anyone used me, abused me or used violence against me. I'm fortunate, but I'm aware that at some point in my life, I could have made a decision or been caught in the crosshairs of a situation that might have changed the course of my future.
People don't seek out abuse. Sometimes they make mistakes and spend too much of their lives trying to get out...or some don't even make mistakes. Life happens through no fault of their own, and we shouldn't throw them away.
Every person has a purpose and a reason and a right to be seen, heard, and treated with respect.
All lives matter.
And I don't care if I ever sell another book, I will sign up and come back year after year after year, as long as they will have me.
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