Richard Paul Evans visited the St. Louis County Library last Monday. He always draws a crowd and did Monday. He was promoting the fourth book in his Walk series. The book popped at number five on the NY Times list, with the new Dan Brown book on the list, above.
The appeal of RPE's books is amazing to me, as are the Chicken Soups. Lots and lots and lots of people buy those books. I don't know, maybe it's that there are a lots and lots of souls that need warm verbal chicken soup. Maybe lots and lots of souls need colored Bandaids for scraped knees. Maybe lots and lots of the hearts of souls get pounded with a meat tenderizer hammer, and those hurt soul-hearts need the touch of a soul-heart-healer specialist.
I was half finished with Jan Bettag's "Normal," a book about surviving and recovery from a burst aneurysm of the brain, when I went to see RPE.
All of this got me to thinking about Why they write, the Chicken Soupers, Jan, RPE. Some of the why must be a desire to help people. That seems to be there in "Normal." When i listen to RPE speak, i get the notion that this is a man on a mission. He has ties to people in grief counseling and he speaks of chance encounters where he counsels grievers, himself.
I do think RPE is on a mission to heal souls, and that is why he writes. I think that Jan wanted to share her story, to describe what happens when your mind is wounded, to help others who encounter similar problems to better understand how abnormal it all is, and what a wonderful thing normal is when you can't be it. She wanted to help people.
If you don't know Jan, I will tell you she is normal now. She is real normal. She is exceptionally normal. Anyway, the mind is a fascinating thing. Everybody ought to have one or two. I learned some things about the mind from her book.
Why do I write? I wish the answer to that one was as clear to me. All I can tell you is that I don't want to Not Write a whole big bunch.
And God bless those with soup, Bandaids, and healing for hurt souls.
John Zerr is the author of four novels, The Ensign Locker, Sundown Town Duty Station, Noble Deeds, and The Happy Life of Preston Katt.
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