Home Content Writing Writing to the writers in my life – and receiving letters back

Writing to the writers in my life – and receiving letters back


Over the years, when a book has spoken to me with particular power, grace, or charm, I have taken to pen and paper and sent word off to the author, communicating what their work meant to me. Contrary to popular assumptions that writers are too busy to respond to their readers, I have often found uncommon generosity of time and spirit among those I’ve written.

It all started in my 18th year, when I was entertaining my own visions of success as a writer. I was full of spit, vinegar, and high expectations, believing that becoming an author was simply a matter of pouring my thoughts onto paper, sending the masterpiece to a publisher, and waiting for fame to erupt and royalties to pour in. 

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Then came the great disillusionment. After a year of ignominy, I wrote to legendary children’s author Lloyd Alexander, winner of the National Book Award, begging him for direction. To my delight, he answered, handling my ego like flannel, lest he put a crease in my aspirations:

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