Sometimes it is interesting to retrace where something began, when a meaningful connection was made. My interview with Susannah Conway appeared in the Washington Independent Review of Books last week, and I’ve been thinking about when I first discovered her and her work. Was serendipity at play?

It all goes back to my browsing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore while we were stopping over in Denver, Colorado, on our big road trip back in the summer of 2011. There I happened upon what has become one of my favorite magazines, Artful Blogging. Back then I was new to the journey of blogging, new to the idea of even journaling my trip by sharing photos of our trip on my blog, and so this publication with its gorgeous photos and helpful insights from other bloggers caught my eye. It seems that sometimes something beckons from a shelf, and just by picking it up you create a thread that can change your life.

Given my love for Artful Blogging, it followed that I should discover an issue of Somerset Life, its sister publication by Stampington Company, during another magazine rack browsing session, this time in my usual Barnes & Noble in Valparaiso, Indiana. This issue featured an article by Susannah in the Authentic Life column, writing about a recent disappointment in reentering the dating life. Her photos, her writing, her insights – it all intrigued me enough to check out her book This I Know. It was to become one of the most inspiring books for me, one I would give to many friends (always a good sign!).

I read This I Know over what might be called winter break, that time in between the years, when I happened to be at home with only one child and could while away winter events by the fire, immersed in a book, underlining, taking notes, thinking. Susannah’s musings on creative expression as a way to heal and manage every day life, and seeing yourself, intrigued me immensely and led me on to take her Unraveling and her Photo Meditations classes, which have helped me further along on my quest to create. “Create” is my word for 2013, and having a word for the year is also an idea I picked up from Susannah. She is simply someone whose voice I need to keep hearing. Thankfully, she writes a fantastic blog and keeps plugging along on her own creative journey, developing new classes etc.

I am thankful that, as a reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books, I had a chance to  “talk” to Susannah and help promote her work. I think I can honestly say that This I Know has been the most important book yet for me this year because it got me thinking, and it led me on to other books that had an even greater impact, which I will discuss here soon.