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On Saturday night, we celebrated the launch of my new book, The Other Mother, virtually from our dining room.

I told a story about becoming an author and why you should be writing, too.

Elysha played the ukulele while she and Clara sang Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now.”

Charlie charmed the audience during an interview about what it’s like to have a book dedicated to you.

My friend, Erica, and I discussed what it’s like to suddenly find yourself as a character in a novel.

I answered lots of questions and even gave out some prizes.

It was a fantastic night.

We had more than 180 households joining us for the event, from at least 16 different US states and 5 different countries:

Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore, and the UK.

During the book launch, I lamented about the virtual nature of the event. In the past, my book launch celebrations have always been live, of course, hosted in bookstores, theaters, and museums. But as I reflected back on the event the next day, it occurred to me that even though we had a large number of friends and family in our Zoom audience, we also had a considerable number of people who I did not recognize from all over the world. Engaged readers and storytelling fans and podcast subscribers who were enthusiastic about celebrating with us despite the hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles between us.

The next day, I received at least a dozen emails from folks who attended the event, telling me how much they enjoyed the evening.

I also received an email from a person in Mexico asking me to continue to teach in virtual workshops when this pandemic finally comes to an end. “I know you love things live,” she wrote. “But I would never be able to take your classes and attend your Speak Up shows unless they were virtual.”

She makes a great point.

Why wouldn’t I keep a virtual element to my work moving forward? While I will always have live book launches once it’s possible again, why wouldn’t I also host a virtual event, too, designed for folks who live in some cases a world away?

Saturday night’s virtual book launch taught me about the reach of the internet and the value of allowing readers from far and wide into our home for a little while to celebrate, to get to know the family, and to hopefully be entertained.

It’s a small silver lining in an immense storm of pain and despair that the pandemic has brought to our world. Despite the isolation of lockdowns, quarantine, travel restrictions, and the inability to spend time with friends and family in a physical space, the pandemic has oddly connected me with thousands of people all over the world who I never would’ve met without the pandemic.

Some of whom I now consider my friends.

A tiny silver lining that will surely linger once this viral nightmare is finally over.