<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d32209663\x26blogName\x3dSideways+Mencken\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://sidewaysmencken.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7682481423868601741', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Love Letter.

A few days ago my wife and I got an email love letter. It was the eleventh anniversary of the kid series we wrote. (I'm disguising the name of the series so Google won't lead actual children here. I want to feel free to use R-rated language in this blog. But all of these fans are adults now.)

Here are some excerpts:
You and your story are the reasons that I started writing, and eleven years later after it all began, I'm going to be published. Thank you so much. Your gift gave me more than I can even tell you.
And:
I began reading A-------- when I was ten. I was a lonely, introverted child who read for escapism, and A-------- offered me that many times over, and so much more. I connected with the characters, and the moral ambiguity presented in the series gave me food for thought. I loved them deeply.

I still do. There was a period in high school where my life and emotional stability were shot through and everything was falling apart; I think I read an A-------- book a day on average. Even now, at age twenty, I keep at least two A-------- books with me in my college dorm, and whenever I need a boost I pick one up and read.

Thank you. You wrote a series that provoked thought and emotion, with characters that sprang to life. You transcended the genre, and you inspired me to work on my own writing in the hope that someday, I might touch someone as you touched me.

In an interview once you said that you did not write A-------- to change the world - you just wanted to pay the rent. Well, most people don't mean to change the lives of others, but you surely did.

And:

I won't get into too many details, but before I discovered the A-------- series I was an overweight 13 year old from a low class family whose friends kept moving away but the bullies kept growing b/c I was the shy kid who everyone thought was smart. I had no confidence and felt as though I was just a burden to the world.

One night, I started reading your series out of curiosity b/c of the show. I needed to know the answer to a question that shocked me and I also needed something to help me get to sleep b/c I was so excited about my first trip to Washington. So, I picked up my little brother's copy of A-------- #6: The C-------- and began reading it. I was so shocked when I ended up feeling as though I had drank 10 cups of coffee and a pint of Red Bull after reading the series that I started reading the series every single night (and re-reading).

The book brought out a creative side of me I never knew I had and I started to LOVE reading. English, my least favorite subject, become not only my favorite subject but the subject I did the best in! I went from being a C average student to becoming a Dean's List student and graduating within the top 10% of my class.

And:

Thank you for inspiring me to read, thank you for putting a new perspective into my young mind, thank you for helping me appreciate wildlife, thank you for creating Marco who was a much needed humor relief, thank you for causing me to drag my mother and myself to a bookstore and spend her money, thank you for all those stories... I can't say thank you enough, really

And:

Here is a very abridged list of the things A-------- taught me in the mother of all run-on sentences:

How to read military time, that tomato juice helps with skunk smell (FYI only until you get wet; hydrogen peroxide is better), what it means to disable one's cookies, string theory (at least the concept of higher dimensions; when I read Flatland by Edwin Abbot I thought, "Right! Like E------- was explaining to Loren about the Flatties and the Cubies!"), chaos theory ("A single butterfly beating its wings in China can cause a hurricane in America..." I'm a physics major, so both strings and chaos are dear to my heart), what cow tipping is, that one can "use rhetoric to obscure a lack of content", that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the official symbol of America, that NIN is better in concert, that moles dig one foot down for every three across, that Microsoft was invented by an alien (E-------, I thought you were a good guy! What happened there, man? Well, since you also invented Macintosh, we forgive you), that I should beware of this organization (check it out!!!): http://sh-----website.googlepages.com/home , that young people's opinions matter, that it's all about the shades of grey, to stand up to authority if you feel it's doing wrong, that being yourself and acting honorably is a losing battle, but fight it anyway.

Well, okay, fans are naturally going to say nice things. Be cynical, I probably would be if our positions were reversed. I am the least sentimental person I know. I tell myself it's just a job, that I write for money. But there are special compensations in writing for kids. They grow up, you know, those eleven-year-olds. And it turns out that sometimes they get the things you snuck in under the radar, the bits and pieces of philosophy you disguised as banter, the big questions you kind of hoped they would notice hiding behind that loud action scene.

This I won't even pretend not to find affecting: the young woman who took the time to assemble these 20 letters for us has rather more important things to do: Elizabeth is a soldier serving in Iraq.

We both quit writing for kids for a few years. Now we're both back at it. And I still pretend it's nothing but a job and that it's all about the money. I wear my cynic's hat to work every day. But just between us, with no agents or editors listening in? I'll trade a royalty point or two for letters like the above any day.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

“Love Letter.”

  1. Blogger Cantankerous Bitch Says:

    Sincere congrats to you & the Mrs., MR. Letters like that must truly be invaluable, hopelessly beyond measure.

    My best to you & yours.

  2. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Hey, CB, where the hell have you been?

  3. Blogger Tully Says:

    And I still pretend it's nothing but a job and that it's all about the money.

    So keep pretending...and keep writing anyway. ;-)

  4. Blogger amba Says:

    And guess what?

    Your new series is going to bring you a whole new generation of such letters.

    I know. I'm the lucky bastard who got a sneak preview.

  5. Blogger Cantankerous Bitch Says:

    Workin' my tail off, Mr. Man. I think that my ass, may in fact be, a 1/2 size smaller. Re-joined the Working Stiff club and have roughly 20 minutes of clear-headed free time per day. Have peeked in on you & your new digs now & again, and thought it was high time I 'fessed up to it.
    Stil love you madly,
    CB

  6. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    ninest123 09.23
    ugg boots, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, burberry, replica watches, replica watches, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, burberry outlet online, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, ugg boots, michael kors, ugg boots, louis vuitton outlet, nike outlet, tiffany jewelry, nike air max, longchamp, ugg boots, louis vuitton, nike free, michael kors outlet, louboutin, jordan shoes, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, prada outlet

  7. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    vanessa bruno, new balance pas cher, michael kors, hogan, air max, hollister pas cher, nike air max, nike free, mulberry, true religion jeans, hollister, vans pas cher, coach factory outlet, nike air max, air force, hermes, kate spade handbags, michael kors, lululemon, true religion jeans, north face, converse pas cher, north face, oakley pas cher, nike roshe run, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, burberry, nike free run uk, sac longchamp, coach outlet, true religion outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, timberland, longchamp pas cher, air jordan pas cher, coach outlet, nike roshe, michael kors, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, ray ban uk, tn pas cher, sac guess, nike blazer, lacoste pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, ralph lauren uk, coach purses, true religion jeans

  8. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    gucci, beats by dre, north face outlet, reebok shoes, mcm handbags, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, babyliss, p90x workout, nike roshe, new balance, baseball bats, nike air max, longchamp, converse, iphone 6 cases, birkin bag, vans, timberland boots, valentino shoes, herve leger, lululemon, nike air max, soccer jerseys, wedding dresses, bottega veneta, mont blanc, ralph lauren, nike huarache, asics running shoes, jimmy choo shoes, ray ban, hollister, vans shoes, giuseppe zanotti, converse outlet, insanity workout, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, ghd, celine handbags, oakley, nike trainers, instyler, soccer shoes, mac cosmetics, hollister, louboutin, chi flat iron, hollister

  9. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    hollister, replica watches, pandora charms, michael kors outlet online, toms shoes, moncler, thomas sabo, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, links of london, canada goose, marc jacobs, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, lancel, coach outlet, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose uk, barbour, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, karen millen, doudoune canada goose, moncler outlet, michael kors handbags, sac louis vuitton pas cher, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, montre pas cher, barbour jackets, canada goose, ugg boots uk, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, moncler, michael kors outlet, ugg pas cher
    09.23

  10. Blogger ninest123 Ninest Says:

    hollister, replica watches, pandora charms, michael kors outlet online, toms shoes, moncler, thomas sabo, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, links of london, canada goose, marc jacobs, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, lancel, coach outlet, supra shoes, moncler, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose uk, barbour, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, karen millen, doudoune canada goose, moncler outlet, michael kors handbags, sac louis vuitton pas cher, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, montre pas cher, barbour jackets, canada goose, ugg boots uk, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, bottes ugg, louis vuitton, moncler, michael kors outlet, ugg pas cher
    09.23