I sat by the window seat of the airplane waiting for the inevitable people who would be my close neighbors for the duration of the two hour flight.
An elderly lady and a young girl found themselves standing in front of me asking if they could sit there. I smiled and offered them a welcome. The young girl promptly took the middle seat between me and the elderly woman who I would find out was her grandmother.
I remember thinking how much the young girl reminded me of what I picture Anne of Gables to look like, at least in every way, but the clothes. She neatly placed her backpack under the seat in front of her, but not before removing a book . . . a very worn book. She set it on her lap delicately then turned to me and smiled.
I glance down at the book. “Mary Poppins,” I said. She beamed with a smile, her red hair and freckles beaming along side of the grin. Her grandmother leaned across and said with a not so subtle pride, “It’s her favorite book.”
“Is that so? I have actually never read it,” I responded.
An audible gasp came from the girl’s mouth. “You must read it. You have to read it. I don’t even know how many times I have read it already and I am only eight!”
Her passion sparked joy in my heart. What excitement she had over this book and it was clear that she wanted me to feel the same way.
“Okay,” I said, “but first tell me if you like the movies that were made from it, the original and the remake?”
“Oh, I liked them, but the book . . . the book . . . it’s perfect.”
I will never forget that sentence, describing a book as perfect. This young girl taught me in just a short conversation just what a “perfect” book is.
It is one that evokes such emotion that the reader can hardly contain themselves when they talk about it. They want the emotion to be shared by others and to continue feeling it themselves, so they will re-read it over and over again, always experiencing the same intensity.
I decided after that conversation that I wanted to write the perfect book. Just imagine, evoking such joy and passion in someone, that would be an incredible gift.