The best kind of fan mail is not mail at all…

Recently I was humbled by the talents of a young girl in Saskatchewan. Through my author facebook page, her friend’s mother was very kind to send me some writing this young girl had done. To my complete surprise, it was The Stowaways Part 2, something I’ve been trying to write for ages! (What a relief… I wondered what having a ghost writer might be like, and now I know — it’s fantastic! )

But seriously.  Bryn wrote this wonderful work in grade 3. Look at the thoughtful cover and dedication page; the way she drew those twigs and vines, with careful consideration about the Stowaways’ environment, in nature. And the dedication: “To the writer of the Stowaways, who I have admired for starting my writing career” (That’s me!)

Bryn Hengen 1Bryn 2

I won’t post her writing unless she tells me I can (we writers have to stick together on keeping our work secret sometimes), but I will say it’s the best writing by anyone her age I’ve ever read. She did exactly what I teach kids even older than her how to do–to capture the essence of the characters through actions and dialogue, without describing their personalities with boring old adjectives — to show, not tell! Bryn already knows how to do that. She wrote nine pages of fun, imaginative, and accurate writing. Nine more pages than I’ve written in a while!

I will think of Bryn’s Part 2 often as I continue work on my Book 2…. Maybe she was humming while she wrote it. Maybe she was lying on her belly on the floor, kicking her feet through the air. Maybe she was sitting calmly at her desk. I don’t know. All I know is how uplifting it feels that a person as talented and motivated as her spent time writing a sequel to a book she liked. I feel joy that it was my book.

I wrote Bryn a  postcard (I wonder if she got it yet?). I’m not sure if I remembered to say thank you for inspiring a writer like me to keep going. Sometimes it can be tough to write a whole book. I sure hope she keeps going, too.

P.S. I showed your work to my editor, Bryn! She was “really impressed” and said you are “definitely a writer in the making.” 🙂

 

 

 

A Tiny Furball of Hope

I’ve had a tough season, as we all have, trying to stiff-upper-lip the winter blues. Last weekend, I cracked. I just couldn’t take another cold, colourless dawn.

But then the tiniest thing happened to brighten my spirits.

I mean, really tiny.

My partner Brian discovered a mouse chewing at the floor under our hallway radiator. In his excitement, he scared the poor little thing and it ran into the living room and hid behind a tile leaning against the wall. Brian took out a flashlight and found him, curled up in the corner, with his nose tucked into his belly — stiff with fright that we were going to hurt him.

But of course we wouldn’t. I write about mice, so how can I possibly hurt one? Even Brian finds the idea of mouse traps deplorable, after reading The Stowaways “What if that’s Rory, on a mission of survival?” asks Brian.

“Much like us,” I say.

Oh, how I would have loved to scoop up that little mouse in my hand, and whisper to him how safe he is in our home.

This winter has been a sick combination of cold, grey, angst, and pressures that have all but torn us to shreds. But we bonded over our little mouse. His plight of survival is as one with our own. As we root for our house mouse, we root for ourselves.

And that’s a tiny but positive thing among winter’s rubble.

Mouse_in_cage_by_Fenster.

(Image from Fenster)