This past Fan Expo I had the good fortune of meeting lots of incredible fans. Some came specifically to see me while others did a double-take when passing the table and being happily surprised to find me there. But there was a particular duo that stopped by that put my life into perspective.
First though, a bit of context: I grew up engrossed in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, so it’s a point of personal pride to have become a fixture of it. After ten years I’ve typed my way to being the most prolific writer for the franchise. That right there is a spiffy feather in my cap. Then there are the fans that have come to enjoy my take on the series, some of them passionately, which is even better. It’s not just me enjoying my work, but others are enjoying it too.
But that can’t match the father and son pair at Fan Expo. They introduced themselves at a panel I was on about writing for young readers and followed up with me at my table later. The son had grown up with reading and speech disabilities, so getting him to read anything was difficult. But when he picked up my run on the Sonic books, something clicked. They entertained and inspired him to push on with his therapy. The young man I met at Fan Expo was well-spoken, represented himself superbly, and I wouldn’t have known he’d had endured any struggle without hearing his story.
Their story isn’t the first of its kind I’ve heard. Usually once per show I’ll have a family come by and talk about how my writing got their child to read, even catching them up with their peers. It never gets old, or any less humbling. That weekend there was someone who met their personal hero, and I had the overwhelming privilege of being that hero.
So yeah – ten years of writing my childhood favorite is a joy. Ten years of making fellow Sonic fans happy is even more delightful. But five minutes of meeting someone’s life you helped change for the better? That’s unquantifiably amazing. So everyone who has been helped or touched by my work – thank you. You make it all worth it. You give me worth.