Thursday began and ended with presentations by two authors, on wildly different topics, in venues that could not have been more different.
That I know both authors personally is pretty cool.
Patty Chang Anker was in town Thursday morning to give a keynote talk at the 11th annual World Aquatic Health Conference at the Doubletree Hotel near Lloyd Center. She spoke before hundreds of attendees in a hotel ballroom, pacing the stage and clicking through numerous images that illustrated her talk.
She’s the author of “Some Nerve,” a book about facing your fears, and she skillfully blended stories of overcoming her own water phobias with an appeal to attendees to get personally involved in helping more Americans, young and old, get past their anxieties and learn how to swim.
I met Patty when she was a wisp of a young woman, an earnest Ivy Leaguer who was among a select group of college students chosen to work on a newspaper chronicling activities of the annual Asian American Journalists Association.
The convention was held that summer in Seattle. I was among the editors and Patty was among the reporters assigned to me. She did a fine job and I remember a heart-to-talk with her about journalism and how or whether it fit into her career aspirations.
We reconnected a couple years ago via social media and I was delighted to learn Patty had built a successful career in public relations, had become a prolific blogger, married an attorney and was raising two daughters just outside New York City.
She went on to write “Some Nerve,” which has not only been a critical success but also opened the door to many speaking engagements.
On Thursday, Patty was the picture of professionalism, projecting excitement, knowledge and humor as she only occasionally referred to a notecard. Afterward, people stood in line for an hour or more as she signed copies of her book.
That evening, Lori and I hustled down to Broadway Books, our neighborhood indie bookstore, to hear our neighbor give a reading from her just-released book.
Alice Hardesty lives two doors away from us in our townhouse development. We see each other regularly, often just out walking our dogs, taking care of each other’s cat or at a neighborhood gathering.
It was great to see her in another context, as the author of “An Uncommon Cancer Journey: The Cosmic Kick That Healed Our Lives.”
It’s the story of Alice’s husband Jack’s healing from esophageal cancer in the 1980s, despite two “terminal” diagnoses.
“After conventional medicine failed to provide a cure, Jack tried every alternative and complementary treatment he could, including vitamins and enzymes, bodywork, spiritual healing, and intensive psychotherapy,” asays the blurb on Alice’s website. “Alice accompanied and supported him throughout this journey, and found that along with the physical healing came the healing of their marriage.”
Jack died some years later, before we had a chance to meet him, but I imagine reading the book will give us a sense of his character and the challenges he and Alice faced.
Seated there Thursday among our neighbors and friends of Alice, I could detect a sense of accomplishment on Alice’s part for completing and publishing a book on such a personal subject, as well as the gratitude for those gathered to hear her read excerpts from the book.