“I’m a _____________”

We tend to identify quickly and easily with other people who are like us in some way – those with whom we have something in common. Two people from completely different places, different backgrounds, different ages, different races or different social status can form a connection based on three simple, identifying words… “I’m a ___________.” You can fill in the blank with just about anything whether it be an occupation (teacher, fire fighter, stay at home mom) or just a favorite past time (reader, writer, painter, Words With Friends expert).

I experienced this phenomenon first hand just a few days ago at my regular plasma donation session. (That’s right, I donate plasma. It isn’t scary or particularly painful or overrun with drug needles – as some might think – and they actually pay you pretty well for the amount of time you have to invest. Plus, your plasma is used to make medicine that improves the quality of life for many people. But, that’s a whole other story.) I was mid plasma donation, reading on my Kindle as usual. One of the men who works at the center came up to me and asked what I was reading. I answered him and then asked, “Are you a reader?” His reply? “Yes, I’m a reader. I’m also a writer.”

Immediately we had a connection – reading and writing – shared interests between two people from completely different walks of life. We talked for several minutes. He reads smart books, not the juvenile smut I enjoy. He’s in the process of writing a book – historical fiction with a really interesting plot twist. As we talked he shared that he spent some time in federal prison for drug trafficking. It was in prison that he started reading, mostly political/historical fiction. Now, he is about to graduate from a local university and plans to move to Nashville to pursue a law degree and eventually become a lawyer. From drug trafficking to lawyer. I don’t know what happened to have such a positive impact on his life choices but I know that now he is polite, kind to strangers, focused on his goals/future and he’s writing a fascinating book.

Even though we’d never spoken before, and likely won’t again, I was thankful for this human interaction. Thankful that I was available and open for this man to share a bit about his past and his hopes and dreams for the future. I left the plasma donation center with a puncture wound in my arm and a new realization that something as simple as “being a reader” can open a door for meaningful conversation.

With that in mind, I have two questions for you: Are you a reader? If so, what are you reading right now? Let’s have a virtual book club where everyone gets to choose their own book. Leave a comment to let us know a bit about it. Not reading anything right now? Then tell us about a recent favorite. I’ll go first in the comments.

If you’re not a reader, don’t feel left out. Leave a comment that fills in the blank, “I’m a __________.” Who knows…maybe we’ll discover new connections – shared interests that will lead to meaningful conversation.

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5 responses to ““I’m a _____________”

  1. Chrystal October 3, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    I’m currently reading Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie. Blake is the founder of TOMS Shoes – the company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that is purchased. (https://www.toms.com/) Just reading the story of how TOMS was started is fascinating but Blake also shares stories from other companies who are doing big, fascinating things. It’s truly inspiring to read about his heart for changing the world and about the way he runs his business and deals with his employees. A great read for anyone longing to “start something that matters” as well as anyone just looking for a better way to do business.

  2. jamie October 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    I’m currently reading the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Been on my to-read list for too long.
    And just because I can’t resist… I’m a writer/singer/aspiring photographer.
    Good post. I love stories about meeting random strangers.

  3. Jeff Williams October 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Hi Chrystal! I’m a writer, and an aspiring reader. That means I have a stack of stuff to read (EntreLeadership, The New Reagan Revolution, The Making Of The Empire Strikes Back, Breaking The Chains Of The Occult And Pharmakeia- a book written by my folks), but I don’t allow myself to invest the time to catch up on all of that reading. But I’m working on it!

    • Chrystal October 5, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      Thanks for commenting Jeff. I’ve heard good things about EntreLeadership and will probably add it to my list as well. Good luck on finding some reading time!

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