Right before Christmas, I submitted an editorial/essay to The Daily Iberian, the newspaper in my father’s Louisiana hometown. I had been kicking around the idea of the gifts that came from being my Louisianan father’s daughter since 2009, but the words didn’t come together until this holiday season.

The editor published it in the Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 edition as a Guest Editorial. It’s called New Iberia memories best gift of all.

I read it online, of course. The circulation manager also sent me five copies of the printed version. I tell you, it never gets old seeing my words in print.

After it was published, several Louisianans wrote to me saying they read it and liked it and enjoyed my writing. It’s nice to hear from people who read your work. Sometimes, being a writer is like working in a vacuum — you put out content and you know people are reading, but it often feels like a one-way conversation. It’s nice when it becomes a two-way street.

One of the people I heard from is a member of the Iberia Cultural Resources Association. They aim to preserve the history of my father’s hometown and the people who call (or have called) it home. She wanted my address to send me a book they published in 2013 called New Iberia: What Can’t Be Lost. It’s a beautiful, hard cover, 331-page walk through time and history. It’s letting me get to know people who walked the same streets as my dad, those who grew up in the same place, in the same way. I’m learning about local businesses and the way of life (including favorites toys, etc.) of those who lived there.

(And it smells good, too… I swear, Yankee Candle Company better get on creating one called “new book.” I would buy them all.)

I like to poke around on the Internet for history relating to my family, so I might have stumbled upon the association myself eventually. But how nice to have the connection come from me writing about my dad and them taking the time to read it and then reach out to me. It would have been fun to read the same stories in their book online, but how awesome to hold their creation (which I’m sure took much time, effort, and dedication) in my hands, to flip through its pages again and again.

I’m always grateful for my writing gift and even more so when an editor or publisher helps me to share it with others. You just never know what it will bring in return or who will come walking up the other side of the street.