Love Letters to Authors

Notes from Alexis: The early day blogger. She is coming out of the groupie closet.

6/15/84

Dearest Lex,

Yesterday I got a Letter from Mom and in it was three pictures – two of me and one of M. when he was two or three. The two pictures of me were the ones we had gone to Yachats to get and we had failed at miserably. No letter, just the pictures, it gave me quite a start, but I feel so lucky to have them. They are the only two pictures of me throughout my childhood.

I got all fired up about our local library in Keno, even to the point of considering babysitting one day a week because I thought it was closing. I talked to B. E., the Klamath Librarian, and found it was still open, so then I talked to J. B. across the street. He publishes the Keno Star. I wanted him to run a story about it. He said it sounded like a good idea but he didn’t have time to write it, and hinted heavily that I should write something up. I wasn’t very enthused; I have never been interested in writing for newspapers.

Still I was interested in the library so I went over Thursday and met M. B. and fell in love with our little library. It isn’t nearly as grand as yours but it reminded me of all the little libraries of my life.

So I came home and wrote up an article. Dad thought it was a good idea and wanted to read it. His comment was, ‘Cute.’ So that killed it dead. I wasn’t aiming for cute.

I have been writing like a mad woman and now have a name for my life, ‘Travels in Time and Space’, known familiarly as Travels (actually became “Always Going”). I have 16 chapters written, about 40,000 words I guess, but it should end up about 20 chapters. It seems to be unrolling out in front of me like a carpet. The last three chapters have been so hard to write but I finally got them done and I’m not totally displeased.

J. B. from across the street called about something and asked about my writing. I was all enthused as usual, and then he started telling me I should send my stories out and get them published. He told me there were magazines I could read that would tell me where to send manuscripts for short stories, and I lied and said I hadn’t sent any out. I have, in fact, gotten all five of them back. I thought it was interesting that I lied to him.

For one thing I don’t really want J. involved in my writing. The nerve! Telling me as if I were a child about what I should do. It irritated me! You know the feeling. How many times have you been told what you should do about your pottery? Screech! Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me terribly that I got all five of them back. (Funny that it bothered me more to have him tell me what to do.) I think they are good and so do you, so evidently publishing them now is not the way to go.

A book of short stories is probably the way to go, and when the time is right, the stories will find their place. I cannot get myself involved in selling at this point. While I have the writing going I just have to keep at it. There will undoubtedly be plenty of time when I’m not writing to concentrate on selling. Everybody thinks selling is nothing but we know different, don’t we? I know how to write but I don’t know how to sell, and furthermore I’m not even going to learn. I never wanted to be a salesman.

I found the poem I was looking for in the funniest way. I was at the library looking for some more of Robert Graves’ poems when off to the side was a book, ‘Aspects of love’, a collection of love poems. I took it down and put it back. Love poems, indeed! I was looking for war poems. But it called to me so, I took it home and there it was. It’s by John Keats and is ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. I have had more fun out of my search for that poem than most people have – period.

I can’t believe the kinds of luck I have with books. Just re-read Peter S. Beagle, “I See By My Outfit”. This is such a good book and if you can’t get it, I have a paperback. You also know how I feel about aging. I found a book by Phyllis Diller, ‘The Joys of Aging and How to Avoid Them’. A super funny book, and I have this one too if you want it. If you want a good laugh read it.

I have decided to write love letters to authors when I like their books. That is a complete about face for me. I have always held fan letters in contempt, until one day it dawned on me that I am going to be published, and what if I got letters and what if I don’t? I could see then that I would love to get letters. The disc jockeys used to say, “Hello is anybody out there?” and it is the same with writers. You want to know that you reached somebody.

I figure that if they get a million letters, mine will just stay on the bottom and who cares? But if they get none, or only a few, mine might matter, right? So I’ve started writing letters. I mean, if I’m going to make a career out of being a groupie, then I should be up front about it, not a closet groupie for God’s sake!

Will close and run to town but wanted to get you a letter.
Hold the good thought and you know what I mean.

Love, Mom

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