Monday morning I woke in a particular deep rut in the downer end of the cycle. A long training run cleaned me out of much of my chemical funk, but over the last few days, I got a boost from another source, one which warmed my heart instead of merely flushing out my brain.
|You can has!|
It's lovely getting kind reviews from strangers, but when one actually takes the time to write directly to me, not an audience of their friends and online acquaintances…? For swoon! Yesterday I received three kindly reader e-mails—not bragging, it just felt really cool, like people out there could sense I needed an injection of a happy-making drug. I even got an e-mail from a frustrated reader who couldn't get their review to appear on the B&N website, and wondered if I'd heard of this issue before. Wow. So not only were you nice enough to take the time to write up your thoughts about my work, you're actually willing to troubleshoot a vendor website to see it posted? Dag! You can has OSSUMEST READR EVAH badge.
But no one reader e-mail is superior to any other. I get the same thrill and egomaniacal glow whether it's a sentence or an opus (or indeed a tweet), whether you gush profusely or politely enumerate your criticisms. Well, as long as you butter me up first before laying down the complaints. I'm not that well-adjusted.
Readers nearly freak me out with their kindness. I'm always surprised when they thank me for the book. The book is no biggie—I write those for myself. But readers…they're the ones who pay for my work and invest a few hours of their lives with my odd and prickly characters. I want to reach through the digital ether and shake them and scream, "NO, THANK YOU!" but thankfully I'm not clever enough to mastermind the technology to make that possible. Instead I respond with an e-mail of my own (always straightaway because I'm so outrageously touched), with whatever's on my mind in the moment.
I keep a folder in my mail system called "Fan / Hate Mail." I've yet to get a single piece of the latter—not even for any of my erotica alter ego's spuriously moraled tales. In it I have every kindly message I've yet received (for either of my authorly identities). And so I say to Pamela, Michelle, Danielle, Cat, Erica, Marianne, Cindy, Lanae, Judith, Tricia, Tiffany, Clicia, Carol, Anne, Kate, Tammy, Andrea, Jeff, Victoria, Arlene, Kathy, Jessica, Christine, Tara, Abigail, Dana, Petro, Bobbie, Elaine, Hailey, Amy, Joyce, and KK (to date):
Thank you so, so much. You really have no clue how much it means to us lowly writers. It's a big part of what gets us to peel away the covers and scuttle to our keyboards each day.
My very best,