If God were a writer and he was married to one woman, I’m pretty sure that woman would be Wanda Jewell. If God had his wits about him, that is, which always begs the question anytime you’re dealing with creators, whether writers or God, I imagine.
It would be the perfect union. He could stay home, write, and avoid people till his big ole heart was content. Trust Wanda to do all the footwork. That’s what untold numbers of us writers do already. We hunker down and create alternative worlds. Worlds in which everything goes the way we plan it, or at least thunk it, trusting all the while that when we are done that Wanda will help us get our books into the hands of booksellers and readers the nation over.
Wanda Jewell heads up the Southeast Independent Booksellers Alliance. For all you folks who buy books exclusively from Amazon that likely means nothing to you. But to those of us who know the value of an Indie bookstore Wanda is the woman God put in charge of the Southeast Independent Booksellers Alliance. Known to us insiders simply as SIBA.
Saying that Wanda heads up SIBA is like saying Billy Graham was a country boy who became a pretty good preacher. It tells you nothing of the scope of the job they perform and the blood, sweat and prayers that goes on behind the scenes. Suffice it to say that Wanda is a working fool. Books are her passion, bookstores her pulpit, and readers her mission field.
This has been a particularly rough year for Indie Bookstores, what with this anemic economy and the frightening number of people who choose to be functionally illiterate. Seems like Indies are competing with Detroit to see who can hit rock bottom first — auto-workers or booksellers. (I’ll spare you the lecture about what happens to a nation that doesn’t read and think independently but if you need a refresher course, I’d start with Hitler’s Germany.)
Now comes some more bothersome news. Wanda has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She’ll be undergoing surgery next week, on July 8th. It is an opportunity, she said, for her to step into her “majesty.”
I’m hoping all the rest of you reading this post will put on your best Sunday-go-to-meeting-shoes and help escort Wanda into that majesty. Pray for strength and healing and laughter, lots of good humor.
That’s something we could all use a dose of right about now.
And if you want to do something really practical to help, go to your favorite local Indie bookstore and buy a book in Wanda’s honor.
This author thanks you for caring.