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“Feels good, don’t it?” He said with a big, beaming smile.


He’s the security guard at the front desk of the main Phoenix Public library. I think I’ve walked past him for twenty years or more. On his belt are a walkie-talkie and a mace can in a little holster. I think he also has one of those click-counter things to keep track of the number of visitors. I had never had any occasion to say a word to him before Wednesday–being myself generally an orderly library visitor (most of the time).

I was at the library to post a notice for my book launch party, which is kind of a big deal. Writing a book can be a big deal, the first time out.  I’m doing it the way I always wanted to do a book launch party: my down-home dive-bar equivalent of an elegant soirée. While I was there, I also wanted to see if I could get the book placed in the library stacks for lending.

I told him I was the author of a novel, my first. I wanted to know if I could put the flyers for the party at the front desk. But before I could get beyond that, there was a wave of emotion that came over him. He caught me off-guard, this suddenly-joyous guard. An older black man with greying hair with this sudden spark of life in his eyes. The years of sitting at the desk watching people walk in and out with arms full of books washed off of him. Maybe memories of delight taken in books he had read again filled him. Or maybe he’s a writer himself. Maybe he knew more about writing a book than at it at first seemed.

He looked at me, shook my hand, and said “Feels good, don’t it?”

“Yes, yes it does.”

And it did. Writing a book feels good. In many different ways, and for many different reasons.


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