The Search for the Missing Quote (And an Email From the Author Who Wrote It)

I could only vaguely remember the quote. Every so often I would reach into my mind and try to remember what word she she used to describe someone she appreciated. I never heard someone described that way before, and from what I remembered, it was simple, yet poetic and deep. But no matter how much I tried to remember it, nothing would show up. Until today. I found it.

The author is Janis Bell. The quote is from the dedication page in her book. Here’s the quote:

To all the modifiers in my life who positioned themselves right next to me and never budged. I’m grateful for the loyalty and definition.

I’ve never seen modifier used like this before. To be a modifier and to have never budged. And then, grateful for the loyalty…”and definition.” I remember reading this for the first time and being stuck on this page, processing these words that I’m used to hearing, but never like this.

And then I forgot it. And forgot who wrote it. But after months of digging, I finally found it again, researched Janis Bell, found her email address, and told her a portion of this story. Here’s those emails:

I didn’t know who wrote it. I remember posting the quote on social media, but couldn’t remember when. I just knew it was a book I read years back, and I was sure it was from the dedication page. I’ve spent a year trying to figure out who this author was, that described everyone with a unique word (I couldn’t even remember what the word was). I knew it was a woman, I knew she described people with a unique word, and I knew that I posted it years ago. I’m writing you because I finally found it. And it was you.

To all the modifiers in my life who positioned themselves right next to me and never budged.” What a powerful sentence, and I’m proud to have found it and remembered it (or the thought of it) from that long ago.

Thank you, Nash

To my surprise, she replied:

Thank you, Nash — for appreciating my dedication, for posting it, for remembering it, and for doing whatever you did to track me down and send such a heartwarming message my way today!

I remember being pleased with myself, ten years ago, when I came up with that expression of appreciation. If I had been a typical author, I would have thanked all the people who had supported the writing of my book and praised the editor at the publishing house (that’s what one is supposed to do); but in reality no one but me had been involved in writing my book, and the publisher hadn’t been particularly helpful. So I went with the modifier metaphor, figuring it aptly described what I’m grateful for and it served as a sneak preview of Chapter 5.

I hope you enjoyed the book as much as you did the dedication!


Bought a Camera, Going Pro. Got Married and Have a Video to Prove It. Rose Was Born November 12th. Just Lost Our Husky. Last Updated: May 18th, 2022.

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