I wrote a very appreciative letter to fiction writer Ursula LeGuin - a letter I've been mulling in ever-evolving forms since I was about ten - and received a note back. This was pretty exciting for me.
Her note makes reference to my career, which I talked about a bit in my letter. [Context]
My immediate reactions were 1) Ursula LeGuin is awesome for taking the time to acknowledge a fan message, and 2) Ursula LeGuin has spectacular handwriting.
I wrote earlier (Part 1, Part 2) about how I finally got around to sending a letter. I'd been uncharacteristically focused on the idea of getting an autograph, as if her signature was a talisman, a tangible sign that the connection between author and reader was real.
Once my letter was in the mail, I began to make peace with the idea I would never hear back. On her website, LeGuin says she can't always answer the volume of mail and requests that she receives. My fervor for an autograph, like a sudden, disquieting crush, was gradually replaced by the realization that my letter was itself the talisman I'd sought. I had poured a kind of magic into it: it wasn't necessarily beautiful or timeless, but it was gratitude, heartfelt and long overdue.
Then I got this note, and I couldn't help but feel it's still really, really great.