Creative Media || Project Management || Communications
Last week I shared the first of two letters from author Norma Fox Mazer I received growing up. After the first letter came, I kept it nearby for inspiration when I was writing, and somewhere around the hundreth time rereading it—in high school by then—I decided to write an essay about how the letter encouraged me. What follows is an excerpt from that essay.
One of the things that has influenced my life most has been a half hour of a stranger’s time and a thirty-two-cent stamp. It all goes back to middle school when—just as Joseph Heller said—“I wanted to be a writer when I was in sixth grade—of course I wanted to be one without working at it.” Back then, if I wasn’t writing or reading, I was probably asleep. I had read every book by Norma Fox Mazer I could find. The characters in her books spoke to me, and I often wondered how she knew what I was thinking. When I came across her address one day, I wrote a letter to her, carefully picking each work, never expecting an answer back. Two weeks later the long white envelope arrived. Ms. Mazer explained to me the details of her books, told me what inspired her, and answered my questions about writing. Most importantly, she instilled in me confidence that someday I can be an author as popular as she is, if I work hard enough at it and am truly determined. I reread the letter until the paper became thin and turned a milky yellow…
…and then I wrote a second letter. I sent her the full essay, and her response is below. I’m sharing these letters now for the next of what will surely be many generations of Norma Fox Mazer fans.