I put together a collection of a few posts that I had tagged as "life"--like in this post too--and formatted them into a book, with a bunch of photographs. After extensive editing, I got it printed in color, had it bound, and mailed it to my parents. It is one expensive gift from me to them--the cost of printing/binding and then airmailing it is nothing compared to the time that I spend on it. But, it is always worth the effort.
"This is the ninth volume" my father said after he received it. I have lost track of the volumes that I have sent them. Of course I cannot cite this in my annual self-evaluation at work--these volumes are not peer-reviewed ;)
"This is the one that made me think the most because it was philosophical and it involved plenty of old family stories. In fact, it even upset me" he added.
Understandable. After all, my autoethnography is his as well.
Towards the end of the hour-long conversation, I told him the feedback was awesome to me. "As writer and as a teacher, I want my audience to think about the ideas, especially in terms of their own lives. So, if this volume made you think so much, then this is a huge success."
I hope that my writing anywhere, and yakking in the classroom, makes a difference at least to a few. I am always keen on finding out how I am doing. The unsolicited feedback makes me happy and excited. Like earlier today.
I placed the basket of grocery items and waited for the cashier to start scanning them. He looked about forty. And, boy did he have a head full of wild and unruly hair. I used to have such hair a long time ago. Now, that image of me is a distant memory.
He started scanning the barcodes. He looked up at me. "You write editorials, right?"
At that very moment, I felt like I was as famous as George Clooney and JK Rowling combined. Usain Bolt can kiss my ass ;)
Soon, I will be in the familiar setting of the classroom. Most students will perhaps ignore me as best as they can. There will always be a couple of them in every class who will later let me know that I am doing alright.
If nobody does, well, I have my father's certificate that I am doing really well. May he and I live long enough for a few more volumes.