Dear Cookie, I'm sorry...

Dear Cookie,

I’m sorry.

Your husband put me up to it.

He said it was for your own good.

Please forgive me.

During the first part of December, I made several appearances at bookstores and malls in Nova Scotia. My last obligation of the season took me to the Chapters store in Dartmouth, where I sat for a couple of hours at a table – stacks of my new novel artfully placed to my left and right; and a helpful staff waiting in the wings to see to my every need.

On the whole it was a pleasant affair. I met some wonderful readers for the first time. I also caught up with a few dear friends. Stephens Gerard Malone (author of Big Town) even stopped by – on his birthday, no less!

During my conversation with Stephens, a man stopped by the table, picked up a copy of The Virgin Cure and then stealthily slid it across the table towards me. He looked all around before he spoke, and then whispered, “Make it out to Cookie, and please make it quick. I don’t know how long I’ve got before she catches up to me.”

I scrawled my best wishes to Cookie, signed my name and then handed the man the book.

“Thanks,” he said, still whispering. “It’s her Christmas gift and I want it to be a surprise.”

I nodded at him and smiled. Stephens smiled too.

“Oh, and you’ll help me out, won’t you?” the man added. “She’s sure to come over here at some point to say hello and get a book. My wife’s a BIG fan. Tell her something to keep her from buying it, please. I really want to surprise her with it.”

“I’ll do my best,” I answered, while thinking to myself
’cause that’s what authors do best, right? We tell people whatever we have to, to keep them from buying our books.

Ten minutes later…

Stephens and I were commiserating about the best way to consume the over-sized sugary delight that is the Cherry Blossom, when the man returned, Cookie at his side. She picked up a copy of the book and clutched it to her chest. Giving me a shy smile, she said, “hi.”

What have I gotten myself into? I wondered. How could I possibly turn away this lovely young woman?

Luckily, her husband played a bit of the heavy to get me started. Taking the book from Cookie, and flipping to the back jacket flap, he shook his head at the price and grumbled, “When does the paperback come out?”

Jumping on his lead, I pretended to give Cookie the inside scoop. “No later than a year from now, but possibly as early as late summer.” Making a desperate attempt to sound helpful I added, “Not too long a wait if your bank account is stretched during the holidays.”

She sighed as her husband put the book back on the table. He gave me a sly wink.

Afraid I might give her husband’s secret away if I conversed with her any longer, I turned to Stephens and did my best to ignore Cookie and resume our talk of Cherry Blossoms. “I nibble away at the bottom edge first, all the way around, until it comes off, like a lid. The cherry and liquid centre are left in a chocolate shell like a little cup…”

Out of the corner of my sight, I saw Cookie walk away. Although I took joy in knowing I’d helped her husband pull of his grand Christmas scheme, I still felt like a bit of a jerk. I wanted to chase after the woman and say, “Cookie, Wait! I’m really a nice person. I swear…” (But then she’d say, “How’d you know my name?” and the whole thing would go to sh$&, and, well, you get the picture.)

And so it’s January 4th, 2012 and we’re at the start of a new year, a time when most of us are making pledges and resolutions that will hopefully turn us into better human beings. Sure, I want to be stronger, put less crap in my pie hole, be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, and writer…but I also want, so desperately, to get this message to Cookie.

To the beautiful, kind soul who stood in front of me at the Chapters in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,

I’m sorry.

I hope you found your book waiting under the Christmas tree and that despite this author’s bad behaviour, you enjoyed reading it. Perhaps we’ll meet again one day so we can have a real conversation about books and words and life.

Yours truly,

Ami McKay

 

 

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15 Responses to Dear Cookie

  1. Jen Young says:

    What a wonderful story! How kind of that man — any man who’ll buy you books is worth keeping around! Also — Cherry Blossoms are my all-time favourite chocolate bars, and I eat them the same way. I gnaw off the bottom until I’m left with the cup, then I drink it like a shot, and if no one’s home, the whole thing goes in my mouth like a hamster. I’m very classy.

  2. Cheryl Martyn says:

    I,too, got a surprise copy of ‘Virgin Cure’
    under the tree. My one and only “asked for” gift. I’m in the middle of another book (which is a snorer!) but am trying to wade through it before I open my “can’t wait to read” book!! Getting harder by the day!

  3. Awwww, honey. I’m sure her husband told the whole story Christmas morning. I know quite a few people who got your book for Christmas (hee hee hee…) and there’s been a fair bit of chatter on my FB page about how awesome it is. Keeping people up all night reading. Including one of my editors. Awesome news. And so well deserved!

  4. Fonda Raymer says:

    It seems as though you are often blessed with these chance meetings. I think of them as devine interweavings! Your words always take me to the gift you are receiving and so it fills my heart. Continue on my young lassie. Love, Auntie Da

  5. Shelagh says:

    Ah, cherry blossoms! As tasty as they are….they are not what they used to be…..not the same as in my childhood. The cherry blossoms of the sixties were enormous, confectionary mountains and the chocolate would immediately start to melt if you held it in your hand too long, The syrup was silky fragrant and ambrosial, the cherry juicy and plump. I still remember……
    Just like Red Rose tea, somewhere along the line the tea has been changed. Not as good as it used to be. Do I sound like a curmudgeon?
    I’m sure Cookie knows:)

  6. Florence Yap says:

    This is really touching. I remember being urged by some of my writer friends to start creative writing more than ten years ago. I was really hesitant ‘cos I was and still am a scholar who reads, comments, reviews, criticizes, etc. I thought I’ll be haunted by nightmares if I start writing creatively. Your wonderful encounter at Darthmouth is encouraging. Writing creatively will definitely be top of my list when I retire (still chicken hearted now). My new year wish is to get hold of your Virgin Cure ebook asap. All the best; and hopefully we’ll see another great work of yours by the year ends!

  7. Belinda Tupper says:

    I, too, am a lover of cherry blossoms, and yes I nibble off the bottom and drink the juice before it comes drooling out all over my hands..yum. Haven’t had one in a while…I’ll have to fix that. Amy, I gave away a few copies of The Virgin Cure to my sister and daughter and will be buying an e-copy as soon as I can figure out how on my new e-reader. My daughter said she “pretended” to have to work on boxing day afternoon, and hooked off home to finish it (she’d stayed up half the night on the first half. I’m looking forward to reading it…I’d planned to bum her copy but she’d already promised to a girl friend. I can’t wait to get my copy. You are gifted, and I am glad you have decided to share your gift with all the rest of us! Blessings! – B.

  8. marion says:

    Hi Ami,,, I just read this, it was so sweet of you to do that for cookie,, Im sure she will treasure this forever… I am also loving the Virgin cure,,, I’m half way through so far… great read.. love it.. This is why we all love you,, you are so down to earth and have a great love of people… thanks Ami…. Marion

  9. Holly says:

    Because of you Ami … I eargerly opened a box that arrived on my door step December 23th in the U.S.. I knew what was inside but it didn’t stop me from tearing into the box like a lil child. They were here 2 books ” The Virgin Cure” one for your biggest little fan and the other you didn’t know exactly who was getting it. I couldn’t hardly wait to wrap one of them up. I placed a pretty bow on it and gathered a tin of yummy home made cookies just like our granparents use to do. I made a phone call and rushed out the door to deliver the gift. You see…there is a special lady in my life that has been batteling a lot of health issues and had recently gotten out of the hospital. She was really trying hard to overlook her difficult health issues and enjoy what ever part of the holidays she could but her health wasn’t working with her as hard as she was. We visited for a little while and I then gave her the present. She carefully opened it up and saw that you had signed it. The sight of Christmas lights gleaming off of her tears with a sweet smile left me with a Christmas I will cherish . I hope Cookie was a touched as Betty was on Christmas. Thank you so much for making this such a meaningful Christmas. Loves and Hugs, Holly

  10. Lorie says:

    Too sweet. I hope Cookie finds this note and will realize that sometimes the end justifies the means! ;)

  11. Cat says:

    love this!!!

    Love and Light

    ps so sorry I missed you when you were in Vancouver : (

  12. Dodie says:

    That is very sweet, Ami. I’m sure Cookie understood as soon as she opened her present. :)

    Missed you at Spring Garden as I was quite sick. Hopefully, you will be doing some more local signings soon. Almost at the end of my current read and then on to The Virgin Cure! Can’t wait! Hope to see you soon.
    Dodie

  13. FireMom says:

    This is an adorable story. But my husband would get a kick in the seat, despite the surprise, for making me think that an author was a buttface.

    (Sassymonkey sent me. She also sent me The Virgin Cure. Because she’s awesome.)

  14. Ami McKay. You are awesome. This story is just another reason why we all adore you. Happy New Year!

  15. I truly hope that Cookie sees this post and that she does get the chance to sit down and chat with you about books and words and life. And I’m sure that she’s forgiven you after getting her autographed copy, and hearing the wonderful story from her husband.

    I am now convinced (as suspected) that you’re not only brilliant, but such a loving soul. This post inspired me in so many ways. And if ever you’re in Boston, make sure to let your readers know on your blog as it seems that you’re the sort who one sits down to tea with. I’ve been telling my friends in Boston and NY that they HAVE to read your new book. I finally got it when I was home in New Brunswick for Christmas. YAY!

    Happy 2012 Ami!

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