“When my book connects with a reader in this way, it’s a joy I can’t explain.” -Stacy McAnulty, author of The Miscalculations of a Lightning Girl
I haven’t yet finished Carolyn See’s book How to Live a Literary Life. But she has at least one solid piece of advice I’m paraphrasing here:
Write to the authors who move you with their work. Write to them with no expectations of getting anything in return just because it’s brings you joy to let them know what they did mattered. If you can find a way, do it by snail mail with pen and ink and a nice card.
I would add that you should do this for other artists and people you run into. And I can promise that, while you won’t always get something in return, sometimes you will.
And that something will be wonderful.
Here’s what McAnulty sent me with a beautiful note filled with those words above:
I also wrote to Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen to tell him how much everyone from my husband to my teenager to the eight-year-old loved Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, their book about digging a hole to ‘find something spectacular.’ I got these in return, addressed to ‘The Whole Family.’
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the TED talk where Mac talks about the boy who called in to talk to the imaginary whale. If you like to laugh (you do, right?), I promise you will like this one, too.
Reaching out to these writers and artists is a little like breaking the fourth wall as Barnett describes it here. You make their imaginary worlds more real to them and to you.
It’s a joy well worth the cost of a postage stamp.