Stephen likes Weekend Assignment
This week, our assignment asks us about writing “fan” letters. (The title, in case you missed the joke, is a riff on Facebook’s “like” button and fan pages – the modern and sophisticated way to express your fanaticism.) Here’s the Weekend Assignment:
How about a lighter topic this week? Let’s talk about FAN LETTERS. I have never personally written one, because the one time I attempted to, it came off, well, sounding kinda weird! LOL. Apparently I have NO talent for them at all! Nope. Nope. Nope. But how about you? Have you ever written a successful FAN LETTER? If so, tell us about your experience. Did you hear back from the celebrity? Was it a positive experience? Tell us all about it.
I almost didn’t answer this one. Because to answer it truthfully is to expose to the world a deep, dark secret that I buried in past. I thought I could escape what I did that day. I thought I could move on with my life.
I was wrong.
Even today, what I did haunts me. But I cannot ignore the truth. I did it. I wrote a fan letter.
But I only did it once. And I didn’t inhale.
You think I’m kidding, but it’s deeply embarrassing to me to admit that I once wrote a fan letter to the author of the Magic of Xanth books: Piers Anthony. Perhaps because, in hindsight, while they were perfectly serviceable juvenile fantasies, I find that the books are now, save for the first few books, entirely forgettable and entirely unworthy of the level of fanaticism that would drive one to write a fan letter. Frankly, he wasn’t even the favorite author of my youth. That title would go first to Lloyd Alexander, whom I’ve praised on these blog pages effulgently before. And I would be remiss to ignore such a giant of my youth as Tolkien. And it would be a lie if I said I wasn’t a solid fan of Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman. So why it is that the Xanth books, retrospectively inferior to almost any of the works by any of the mentioned authors here, were enough to bring me to writing such a thing as a fan letter?
If there is an answer to that question, I’ll never know.
Don’t get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with fan letters, in general, nor with Piers Anthony, in specific. I just don’t get why I was so geeked out over his books when I was younger.
That said, it was advice from Piers Anthony, in responses to his fan letters filling afterwords to some of his books, that partly lead me down the path I have followed to this day. Even then, in the early-to-mid-Nineties, there had been a growing trend in the world of writing and publication, and Piers had this advice to those of his fans who were aspiring authors: Don’t quit your day job.
Not in so many words, and not so crassly, though. But it was his suggestion, which I read in the back of one of his books, to consider alternative career options while you write, because getting published is so difficult and so many people want to do it and because the chances of success are so thing, that stuck with me all the way through college. It was this suggestion to make sure you have an alternative income stream that lead me to major in Business in my undergrad – a field which, I reasoned, was designed around the concept of income streams. And it’s largely because of that advice that I’m working on my MBA today. If it weren’t for that, I’d likely have ended up an English major or something similar. And just as likely, I’d be on welfare today, and just as unpublished as I am.
There are goods and bads to this outcome. But there it is. My deep, dark secret revealed.
While we’re on the subject of Fans, I figure I should go ahead and point out that some fellow bloggers have awarded me with some blogging awards, recently. Among them:
The “One Lovely Blog” award, given by J. P. Cabit. The rules to which award are:
1. To thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this along to 5 bloggers who you recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about their prize.
And then, there’s this award:
The “Versatile Blogger” award granted by Writer’s Block NZ.
Also with rules, largely the same:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to fifteen bloggers you think deserve it.
4. Contact each of the bloggers you chose.
I’m also on the award queue over on Aidan’s blog, when he finishes queuing it up.
And, it’s not an award, but last month I was tagged in a handwriting-posting game by Creative Barbwire, and I just haven’t had time yet to write up a handwriting sample for that one…
Anyway: Thanks J. P., Juanita, and Barb for your awards/tags. (That’s rule 1, check.)
Seven things about me:
- You just learned one thing about me already in today’s post
- I started writing my first novel when I was about eight or nine years old. And my main character’s name was an anagram for the name of the main character in a book series I was enjoying thoroughly at that age. This was the same book (and same main character) I continued to work on and rewrite all the way through college and beyond. It was always planned to be the first of a series.
- I lived in Germany when I was young. That’s where I was living when I started working on that novel.
- Not only was I going to be a famous novelist when I grew up: I was also going to design and build a fabulous theme park that I called “The Golden Kingdom”. It was so totally not a knock-off of Disneyland. It so totally was primarily fantasy-themed.
- My first love was not Fantasy. It was Dinosaurs. And Trains. I still love the latter two.
- Before I was going to be a world famous novelist, I was going to be something even more extraordinary: a paleontologist-astronaut. That’s right: I was going to dig up dinosaur bones on the moon. Thus proving that dinosaurs colonized the moon. These were my life’s ambitions.
- I am a huge fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction nerd, and yet I have never been to any convention – not a Comic-Con, not a Dragon-Con, not a Gen-Con, not even a Renn-faire. The limiting factor: those things cost money. Where do all the other geeks get their money? I have a college degree that’s supposed to help me make money, and I can never seem to afford to go to these things. Will I ever? As yet, I do not know.
That said, now, I don’t have 15 bloggers I follow to award, let alone 20 for the two combined. So, instead, the fabulous “One Lovely Versatile Blogger” Award must go to:
YOU, if you’re reading this. Consider yourself informed and awarded. Also… if you’re not one of those people I regularly follow already (i.e. Bazelli, Cabit, Writer’s Block NZ, Lua, Barb, Aidan – all of whom can consider yourselves awarded), let me know you got my award so I can make sure to follow you, too. 🙂
(Oh, and also, I really should award David of “A Wee Adventure” since I did recently start following his blog.)
P.S. Barb, I’ll get that handwriting sample up sometime in the future… I’m sure… once things stop exploding.