"Thank you" is not enough. "You have changed my life" isn't, either. But whether or not it expresses the gratitude and joy you have given me as fully as I wish it to, they are the words I'm using. I'm nineteen years old, a rising college junior, and, at least a part of, your Constant Reader. I won't call myself a fan- partially because "fan" sounds to me like someone that goes all starry-eyed when he or she hears your name and wants to feed you grapes while you sit in a golden throne by the side of a magic river, and partially because it always makes me think of Annie Wilkes (as haunting and powerful as she may be, I would rather not play the crazed and unstable fan, even if I'm not beyond wishing Ralph Roberts died in some way other than a car accident). Make no mistake, I am almost positive I would die of an admiration-induced heart attack after trying to hug you if we were to ever meet, but it would not, I hope, be creepy fan admiration. My writing teacher recommended On Writing to me (to a classmate, in truth- I'm not sure she has much faith in my writing ability, but it was her that recommended it all the same) about the same time that my first serious doubts came rolling in about being a writer, and if it weren't for this book, I might have made the worst decision of my life and quit. The best decision of my life, therefore, was buying this incredible inspiration. It's not often we little people get the chance to hear from our heroes, at least not in a way that makes us know that person is telling the whole truth without the fancy ribbons of crap spun on it for positive publicity- On Writing didn't make me feel greasy, as so many other "inspirational" works I've seen have. When you were talking to me (and that's what any good book should do, isn't it? Talk to each reader as an individual? I think so) it put a lot of things into perspective. I love writing more than any other thing I could ever do (though reading is close) and On Writing helped me push past my doubts. I submitted a story to a magazine for the first time a few hours after finishing this memoir of the craft, and whether or not it is accepted, which I'm starting to understand now is not the first most important thing, I have you to thank for it. Rejection or acceptance, at least for now, is irrelevant. You gave me the courage I needed to submit it in the first place, and that's all I needed to start. And now that I've started, here's hoping I can hold onto that courage without needing to second-guess myself into near lunacy again- but I'll keep this book close by, just in case. I started a novel a few months ago, and things are looking much better than they did before. I am not Harper Lee, Poe, or Emerson, and I might not be Maugham, or Hell, you, but I realize now that I don't have to be. I'm looking forward to a lot of writing, and a lot of living. Thank you so much for everything. If my book is published- no, scratch that, when it's published- you can expect to see your name in the acknowledgements. I hope you and Tabby are doing well.
Casi Morgan Scheidt
P.S.- I truly and completely apologize for the unruly adverbs- I tried to swiftly remove as many as I possibly could, but some stubbornly remained.
P.P.S- I'm just kidding, I agree that they are nasty little things... It's so surprising how easy it is to write them, though...