Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Authors Respond: A Love Story

Obviously, to any reader or writer, authors play a magical role in delivering words that challenge the limits of imaginations. Authors are our super heroes and we revere with gusto. Okay, so we also occasionally malign them for depriving us of books for much too long, but love and appreciation for their work is at the core of even our consternation. Sometimes, even better than the next book is when they respond to our emails or letters. There is very little as thrilling as the feeling that the world isn’t really that huge, that our heroes aren’t behind an impenetrable veil. I smile when thinking about an author response that led to a back and forth email conversation about German poets and poetry with Maggie Stiefvater (the author of Shiver, one of my favorite books).

I’ve been reading quite a bit of nonfiction lately, delighting in the knowledge about the world I am finding through the written word, supplemented by watching a few television shows dedicated to discussing the world beyond our borders. One of the authors whose work I am reading didn’t have the chance to finish a sentence because of commercial breaks and an awkward segue, and for two weeks I wondered what lay beyond the closed door of an unfinished statement. So, feeling very nervous, I wrote an email to my intellectual hero of the month, a man who speaks more than one language and understands cultural diversity and politics of a country I am interested in learning much more about. I was prepared for the fact that he might be too busy, or that he might think the answer to my question rests in one of his published books. If I’d never heard back, I still would have thought as highly of him, but after just a few hours, his response was in my mailbox and I was doing the happy dance. As a person with a bit too much need for closure, knowing what he would have said if he’d been given the chance was thrilling. And the fact that his answer made me think, even better. The author’s name is Hooman Majd and he is a class act... and a darn fine writer too.

Quote for the Day from Henry David Thoreau

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”

3 comments:

Liza said...

Oh lovely! Recently I wrote a blog post about a writing book that had been a real help to me. Unbeknownst to me, the author used Google Alerts. Next thing I knew she'd commented on my blog post, thanking me for reading and for my recommendation. It was an unexpected delight and reminded me, yes, authors are people too.

Laura Marcella said...

How wonderful these authors took the time to respond to your emails. It shows they care about their readers and appreciate their fans!

Jemi Fraser said...

That is fabulous! I love when people we admire from afar turn out to be real people - and classy ones at that! Great story :)