Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's national-write-a-letter-to-your-favorite-author day (well, I made that up).

All in all, I’m a matter-of-fact kind of a gal. I say this despite being the one who tears up at the National Anthem and the one who sobs uncontrollably at movies. (I’m speaking here of  the Valley of the Dolls, back when I was 23. I also read the book 5 times to the accompaniment of many tears.) And I hate to think that I’m the only one who cries at Dick Van Dyke reruns.

A scientific study claims that women cry 30-64 times per year. My eyes mist up on a daily basis--probably because I read everyday. There's usually something so sweet, or so tragic, or so beautiful in a story that I can't help myself. 

Despite the waterworks, I still claim that my feet are planted firmly on the ground. That’s why it surprises even me when I write the occasional fan letter. No, so-called stars hold little interest for me; they get enough recognition without my help. But sometimes, after reading a good book, I immediately send the author an email; I don’t expect anything in return. I’m just so amazed and appreciative of that type of ability that I feel compelled to share this with the author.

But imagine my delight when one of my all-time favorite authors, Betsy Byars, wrote me back . . . in longhand. Learning that she and her husband are friends of a friend of a friend, I looked her up online and found that we have a few things in common (in addition to the friend of a friend of a friend), so I was able to point these out in my letter to her.  And, yes, it was a letter sent to a physical address. Since I figured I had nothing to lose, I broke my rule of not expecting anything in return. I audaciously sent her one of my picture book stories, hoping for words of wisdom. While she didn’t get me magically hooked up to an editor, she gave me the next best thing: encouragement. She said I deserve to be published.

So when I get my next rejection, I’m just going to have to think “A lot you know!” . . . because Betsy Byars, the queen of dialogue, told me I have a knack for it.

I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.

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