It started with misdirected email. For a few exhilarating seconds, I believed that US authors and publishers were tracking me down. Then I realized that the emails were for a book publicist who almost had the same email address as me.
So for over a year now, I occasionally need to re-direct a message to Beth Parker PR (Public Relations); and Beth Parker PR, in turn, graciously thanks me for taking the time to do so.
Once becoming email buddies, I did some googling on www.bethparkerpr.com and found out that my name double had worked for several big US publishers before setting out on her own. Best of all; she lives and works in New York City. (So not only did she share my name, she was living my dream.)
You can tell a lot for the tone of an email (read another of my posts: I got your email) . Our conversations were brief, but told me that this was someone who was busy, but not too busy take time to acknowledge each message. Like me, she obviously worked hard in a very interesting (and often crazy) business, and she definitely had a sense of humour. She’d send me little notes when thanking me, and I always signed off with some kind of reminder that I was “Toronto Beth” or “Beth the writer, not the publicist”, and even the occasional “Beth who really wishes she was the one who lived in NYC”.
In one of our exchanges last summer, I made a bold move (bold for me, at least). I suggested gently that we might meet when I next visited New York; even for a “handshake” (ever cautious Beth from Toronto). I received an enthusiastic, “Ha ha, I’d love to meet up”. Turns out, Beth from NY wouldn’t be at her office in mid-town, but we could meet in Queens at her local coffee shop. It was perfect. I wanted to check out Queens (having watched all those New York based TV shows). Now I had a reason, and destination!
Monday morning I sent out on the N Train. Manhattan skyscrapers disappeared behind me, and so did the train as it ducked under the East River . When we emerged at Queensboro Plaza, I was on an elevated subway (so possibly not a subway?), very characteristic of Queens. My stop was a residential area, with shops and cafes up and down the street. (Finally, I’d found somewhere in NYC where people actually lived.)
At the Astoria coffee shop, Beth and Beth chatted, exchanged publishing anecdotes, found out we both have two cats (one dog-like and one seriously neurotic), and then parted on a lovely sunny day with a promise to keep in touch. I continued my walking tour up 30th and along Steinway street before heading back to Manhattan, feeing pretty optimistic about human beings and their ability, and willingness to connect with one another. I also figured that at a time when we all curse the amount of email that turns up in our inboxes, especially spam and messages we didn’t ask for, something quite pleasant can actually come out of such madness!
As Brene´ Brown reminds us: “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Wishing Beth Parker PR all the best in this blog!
Beth Parker from Toronto.