Little Literary Notes

Years ago, one of my friends and I read a book by Carolyn See about living the writer’s life. This was back when I read those kinds of books like they were candy. I read them the way my former roommate, who was a psychiatrist, read self-help books.

See encourages writers to write little literary notes, whether they are a note to a journal or an author. She wants you to do it weekly. It struck my friend and me as a good idea in moderation, but otherwise it was pretty stalkerish and/or irritating.

I recently read a memoir written by a woman whose novels I have enjoyed. I realized I had a question about how she portrayed a difficult family situation that paralleled mine just a bit. Readers, I wrote her a little literary note. I sent her a respectful email. There was praise. There was some truth-telling about my situation. There was acknowledgment that if she were to respond, it would be a huge favor to me.

And, today, she wrote back. It was a fascinating, truth-telling, rich description of how she dealt with writing about that particular facet of her memoir. Published writers remember what it was like to be hungry. We are all fighting the same fight.

Have you ever written a famous writer?

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5 responses to “Little Literary Notes

  1. Yes, and it has been very good. I wrote a question to Betsy Lerner and she answered it on her blog. From there I “met” all kinds of wonderful people including Vivian Swift, another writer who has been uncommonly kind and helpful to me in all matters related to my book.

  2. Good for you, Indy! The few writers I’ve written to — all with the caveat that I do not expect them to write back — have all written back, and some in good detail. You’re right. They’re still human, and they still know what it means to connect.

  3. Good for you. And yes I have. Once to apologize if I’d offended with a joke I made at a reading and Q & A (I hadn’t . “You did no such thing!” she reassured.)

  4. I once wrote to Denise Mina. That’s because in addition to being a fabulous write,r her blurb said she was a medical sociologist, and I wondered what she did, because I couldn’t find her work via any of the usual medical sociology networks. And how many crime writers are medical sociologists? Turns out that what she does is… crime thrillers. But she replied nonetheless, and that made me happy. Having her message motivated me for many weeks to come.

  5. How great is that?
    I’ve only written two. One I sent a news article (via e-mail) relating to science that I thought would be interesting to this YA paranormal author. I received no response which surprised me.
    The other was to a literary author. I wrote three pages, had it translated by my friend’s mom who happened to be from the same small village Columbia and sent it to his agent. Nada, but I didn’t expect to hear.

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