This is a reading of ‘The Long Flight Home’, my contribution to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s latest book, ‘Kindness Matters‘ (page 81)
Several years ago, on the plane home from Madeira to Bristol, a wordless couple almost made me cry. Their simple gesture made what would have been an intolerable journey into a breeze. The moment moved me. I wrote of it to my small, loyal handful of subscribers in a newsletter once I’d gotten home. The kindness of strangers. It moved them too.
In October, I saw the Chicken Soup for the Soul callout for true short stories about kindness. Hmmmm. Over several days, I polished and edited my piece, then pressed send without a backward glance. From what I’d read, I’d either hear from them quite soon, a year or so later, or never. Weeks after, I almost deleted the email saying my story had made it through the first phase. Because to receive an email from a ‘D’ette Corona’ in Covid Times could only be spam, right? Wrong. Associate Publisher.
A couple of days before Christmas, I wrote her, “I am genuinely thrilled ‘The Long Flight Home’ has made it to the final selection round. Thank you for considering my story.”
Months later, a bunch of books turned up on my doorstep …
The $200 payment is a little more complicated when you live in the UK. Despite being a global publishing powerhouse, Chicken Soup for the Soul only issue US ‘checks’. The kind my bank doesn’t cash. Fortunately, my husband’s good friend, a green-carded Brit in New York, is doing me a kindness. He’s agreed to receive and cash the cheque, then electronically send the money my way.
I have never read a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, but have always been aware of them. In reading this one now, I’m reminded of the Anne Lamott quote at the bottom of my wild (w)rites circles page:
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”
Soul food, indeed.
OUT NOW: Kindness Matters