It’s a very small story for an organization with a very big purpose.
And I’m more proud of it than all my other publications combined. The stories, the poems, the novel, the magazines, the anthologies are dear to my heart, but The Market at Night for StoryShares.org is imbued with a purpose that rests at the very center of my heart.
StoryShares.org’s mission is to bring books and reading to those who, for one reason or another, have been denied access to the magical, transformative world that nestles within the printed page.
For me, reading at an early age wasn’t merely enjoyment.
It was survival.
Today, as an adult, I know I have Asperger’s syndrome. But growing up, all I knew was that making friends was a skill that eluded me. When the rare, treasured connection of companionship did come along, it wouldn’t last as long as I’d wish. Friends would fall away with distance or time or their frustration at the odd disconnect that characterized relationships with me.
The hell of Asperger’s is that you can know you have it, but you still can’t recognize it. The brain is just hard-wired differently and, to usurp a phrase that is over-used, you are what you are.
Reading was my survival skill. Escape into different worlds, lives, situations. Books would never think I was strange or different. Books opened areas of the brain that might otherwise have remained closed.
That’s the gift StoryShares.org endeavors to bring to those who have yet to be enchanted by reading. The present waits for them to unwrap it. StoryShares.org tries to make it so enticing that they can’t pass by without taking a look.
The Market at Night is the winner of the 2021 Story of the Year, 50 States Award.
It makes me proud, but more than that, it makes me hopeful.
Reading is too enormous a gift to be left on the sidelines.
I am grateful to be allowed to help invite non-readers into the ranks of the enchanted.