I’ve been cleaning out files and streamlining my workspace as I move toward exclusive use of virtual document storage.
The other day, I pulled out a fat file entitled Fan Mail. I paused and made a cup of tea. I sat down and read through this nearly forgotten file full of handwritten cards, notes from parents, printed-off e-mails, and illustrations and thank you letters from kids.
This cozy tea break was a perfectly timed mood boost, since I had been feeling down after getting word of a recently canceled project that was quite far along the pipeline to publication.
Here’s a small sampling of what I savored from my Fan File:
1. A long e-mail from a woman who often read If Kisses Were Colors to her son in utero. She wrote to me when he was 10 months old to tell me my book was his absolute favorite. (I met him six years later at my launch party for Tyrannoclaus!)
2. A hand-painted card created long ago by my mother (who was always my biggest fan) congratulating me on the sale of three greeting cards—my first professional sale as a writer.
3. A delightful Mirabel’s Missing Valentines fan letter, written entirely in verse by a man married to a Mirabel. It begins:
I’m Mirabel’s husband
and I’m proud to say,
“I bought her your book
for Valentine’s Day.
4. A thank-you from the dad of an autistic child. His son read OCEAN COUNTING over and over. More importantly, the boy wanted to share the reading experience with his parents, something he rarely did. The dad thanked me for fostering family connections.
5. A letter written by an early grade student after I’d visited her school. I chuckled at a new word she used to thank me for reading my rhyming picture book SNOWZILLA.
She wrote, “I liked that you read it poemish.”
6. A long letter from the parents of a 4-yr-old in Alaska. Their son pulled Scary Plants! off the shelf at the library and soon they were reading more plant books, viewing documentaries and informational videos, raising a Venus Fly Trap, quizzing local wildlife rangers, scouting for scary plants on walks, and quoting the book to friends, family, and strangers at the grocery store. (What wonderful parents, to go beyond the book on this educational journey with their child!)
7. A message via the contact form on my website from a woman who remembered me from our freshman year in high school. She now shares my books with her grandkids, and I am grateful that my writing allowed us to reconnect. She recalls that we passed notes in class, and I wrote mine in rhyme! I have absolutely no recollection of this early training for my favorite writing style.
So now I have a plan of action to deal with the rejections and disappointments that are a regular part of this business. When I need an uplift, I’m going to sit down with a cup of tea and read my Fan Mail file (guess I’ll never go totally paperless). I hope to keep adding to it, but I’ll never tire of rereading what’s already in there—and smiling.