As a romantic comedy author, I don't entertain many fantasies about readers crafting heartfelt letters to tell me how my books changed their lives.
Maybe someday I'll get a note saying I gave someone a chuckle or some frisky inspiration in the bedroom, but for the most part, I'm writing to entertain – not to educate or inspire.
Maybe that's why the email I got yesterday made me smile. I asked the author if I could share it here in case it makes you smile as well:
Sent: Wed, October 13, 2010 1:39:09 PM
Subject: Your blog post, September 21, 2010
I wanted to thank you for sharing this "show, don't tell" story on your blog. I used it today with my 7th grade students (I'm an English and reading teacher) – it's PERFECT for this age group. My kids are such soft-hearted, animal-loving young people (at least, most of them), so your husband's actions in this story had a big impact on them. I didn't "show" the blog to them (language!) :o) but read them the story, then stopped to ask what they know about your husband from hearing that, before I read the points you intended to make. MOST of them came up with all of the points you mentioned on their own. Very powerful! Of course I showed the picture of Ozzy with a sock on also, to increase the impact (so cute!). Now we'll see if they can transfer this knowledge to their own situations – so far, after discussion with a partner, they've come up with good examples of "showing, not telling" in movies or other books they've read, and in a few cases students made up stories of their own which made good points about characters without using the words they're demonstrating. We're off to a good start!
I felt you should know how you've impacted people as far away as [location withheld] with your writing! Thank you so much!
P.S. I'm trying to remember how I found your blog - I believe I started with Jenny Crusie's blog, then followed links to Lucy March's blog and followed your link to your own blog from there.
Isn't that nice? And maybe a little unsettling to think I'm warping young minds on the other side of the country.
The funny thing is, I forget people read this blog. I see the comments and track my Google Analytics stats, but deep down I still think it's my mother and my agent clicking over and over and making up different user names so I'll think lots of people are stopping by.
When I was at the Emerald City Writers' Conference a few weeks ago, strangers kept coming up and telling me they read my blog. The first time it happened, I thought it was a joke. When it kept happening, I felt a weird sort of panic. Have I written anything really dumb lately? I hope I didn't offend her with that one post. Or that other one. Or...
I guess I need to get over having a mild freakout when someone reads something I've written. Either that, or come up with a plan to purchase every printed copy of my book next August so no one else can see it.
How do you feel about the idea of people reading something you've written? Does it excite you, or make you want to hide under your bed? Have you ever thought about what sort of fan mail you might someday receive, or are you more inclined to fret about eventual hate mail?
I'm sort of thinking they'll start the same way for me. Dear Pervert...