Sometimes I write something and I get a reaction that surprises me. Sometimes I’m simply surprised a long time later when someone remembers or comments on one of my past posts months (or even years) later. Sometimes I surprise myself by reaching out to someone who’s writing has evoked strong reactions in me.
In the last six months I’ve had one of each of these.
Last fall I wrote up a personal review of how Catherynne Valente’s Faryland stories had affected me and how I had come to feel about them. I hit publish, and I fully expected to hear a couple of responses from my regular readers and that’s it. Instead the review got linked by a couple of Sci-Fi/Fantasy aggregators and linked on a couple of twitter feeds, about five hundred people stopped by to read it, and it resulted in the following:
I can honestly say that I had no expectation of ever writing something that the author of the book would ever see. I was honored that it affected her, and I spent about 48 hours walking about six feet off the ground.
On a more personal level, I’ve written about someone I grew up with and who was personally, emotionally, and romantically significant to me during my school years. I changed names, I protected the innocent, and I used to write under a reasonable vale of anonymity. Anonymity and Facebook are not friends. I’ve had several posts end up connected back to my Facebook profile in the last few months, and through a chain of events that person arrived here. And read everything.
And then sent me an email on Facebook.
Without betraying a confidence, I will say that the last thing she said was “but you should know I have never thought of you as ‘that weird kid I grew up with'”.
Which almost made me cry. Years later, years after first putting how I have always felt into words…finally something redeeming came out of that exercise. I carry plenty of demons around in my personal closet of dark-things-that-lurk-in-the-night; but now I carry one less.
The experience has deeply inspired me to return to writing about things from my own past, even if I find the writing uncomfortable. So the “What I’m Looking For” series once again has a chance at actually seeing completion.
Finally, I “manned up” a week ago and sent a fan letter of sorts to a blogger that I really admire and who moves me almost every time he posts. And to my complete shock, on my birthday, he emailed me back. He had encouraging words, he let me know he’d stopped by my own little outpost of creativity and liked what he read, and asked if there was more to come. And that was the final kick in the pants.
Yes. There is more to come.
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Because of twitter, I now interact regularly with an author who made a huge impact on me as a teenager. It’s amazing and bizarre and brilliant. The Internet is such a great levelling field.
It’s weird to me…I don’t think of myself as writing in the same “sphere” as the author, so it was a real surprise that she read it, even though the very nature of social media is to make those kinds of connections.
I’m glad you’re back writing.
Thanks, hoping to do a lot more.
This is a lovely post to read – if I’d known it was your birthday I would have said!
I think that starting a fan letter with “tomorrow’s my birthday..” would have been a tad off. I was basically indulging in a bit of devil-may-care throw-abandon-to-the-wind putting-myself-out-there indulgence just writing someone I admire to say “hey, I really like your stuff and it moves me every time I read it.”
The connections we make through writing and reading are one of the best unexpected surprises, and one of the things that elevates this kind of writing over old media where there’s no real interaction.
Yes, I completely agree. Communicating with people through my writing, and because of my writing has been the most enjoyable part about it.
Looking forward to reading what comes next, and what comes after that.
Thanks! I’ll do my best to deliver more frequently. Your post-a-day capabilities leave me in awe.
Oh how I’ve missed the “What I’m looking for” series. I can’t wait to read its continuation.
I started writing something not originally intended to be a part of the series and then realized it was perfect as a part of the series…so now I have to fill in the missing lines. It’s sort of my current challenge.
I think I recall the post to which you’re referring. Miss V? Good stuff, that post was (as they all are).
Thanks, as always that means an awful lot coming from you.