The Magic Fabric
How a surprise in the mail can remind you dreams really do come true
This is a piece of magic fabric.
For many years, this fabric covered a wingback chair in a rented apartment in Istanbul, Turkey; a chair that looked like something Gandalf the Grey would have selected when decorating his Middle-earth apartment.
Over the last couple of years, I got to know this chair and, more importantly, its owner Jodi Cowles, as together with our friend, Rachael Mitchell, we dreamed, bonded, and commiserated over our lives as unknown authors. The three of us met online in March 2021 as part of a month-long writing cohort. After our 30 days were up, we continued meeting online as a way to stay accountable and keep each other up-to-date on our writing and publishing dreams.
Jodi’s wizard-y chair frequently made an appearance in our Zoom calls, peeking out from behind her shoulders as we laughed/ranted/cried over why this writing thing was so hard and when would we ever catch our big break.
On more than one occasion, we made fun of the big, burgundy chair with its shooting star motif. The chair belonged to the apartment long before Jodi and her family moved in. We wondered what kind of stories could it tell. How many people (butts?) had sat in it over the years? Had others used this chair as a spot to wish and hope for their dreams to come true? It certainly felt like a possibility.
As we met, the chair became a part of our regular scenery. The chair was there when Jodi shared the hard news about trying to adopt her daughter in a country that didn’t make it easy. The chair was there when Rachael shared that her manuscript had been rejected by another publisher. The chair was there when I told them my brother-in-law was dying. And the chair was there when one day, in the middle of a “down with publishing” rant, we pondered: Maybe we should start a club for unknown authors like ourselves.
We spent the next few months planning and preparing to launch a space for unknown authors to be celebrated and promoted regardless of influencer status, a space that became The Unknown Authors Club.
Then one day, Jodi announced some big news: the adoption was final and she was moving back to the U.S. after many long, hard years spent abroad. The only things she was bringing were the essentials — her family (of course) and a few suitcases. The chair would stay behind in Istanbul waiting to greet the next family who might call their apartment home.
Asking if she could bring us anything from Turkey on her trip back stateside, Rachael jokingly said, “Yea, can you bring the chair?”
Knowing it would exceed the size of the overhead compartment, Jodi did the next best thing—she cut out swatches of the magic fabric and mailed them to us when she got home.
Talk about a Turkish delight.
Now we are mere weeks away from publishing our first book—an anthology of stories about life as an unknown author, written by fellow unknown authors, including the three of us. A literal (literary?) dream come true.
I can’t help but chuckle thinking of the family who will eventually move into the Instanbul apartment and find big holes in the wingback chair. On behalf of the three of us, I sincerely apologize; we are normally not prone to vandalism. But in my opinion, those holes were worth it to never forget all the dreams and plans and ways this magic fabric wove itself into our friendship and into the heart of The Unknown Authors Club.
Join our book launch team!
Our new book, The Life of an Unknown Author: An Anthology on Writing and Publishing from Some of the Best Authors You Haven't Yet Read, launches on October 11, 2022 and we want you to help us spread the word.
If you’d like to be part of our book launch team, simply complete this form. We will provide you with all you need to help get the word out about the book and The Unknown Authors Club.
Together we rise!
Jodi, Rachael & Leslee
Thanks for reading The Unknown Authors Club newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.