Sunday, March 17, 2013

Please Return to Sender

My wife thinks I'm a little weird.  But I'll get to that in a minute.

My favorite living author -- Mr. Michael Dirda, book reviewer for the Washington Post, author of such greats as Classics for Pleasure; Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments; and Bound to Please (which earned him the Pulitzer) -- recently responded to a letter I wrote him.  My first letter, however, never made it.  But he was very gracious and responded to me via e-mail  reconfirming his address.  I sent a second letter.  In it I asked if he wouldn't mind signing a few bookplates for my copies of his works.  He said of course, no problem.
The "Return" Care Package

So I went and tried to find some bookplates that would suffice.  They had to be roomy enough for him to be able to inscribe something on them, and look a little better than your standard mailing label.  Alas, no joy.  On to Plan B: Enter the return care package.  I bought a small box and decided that I would send a few of my copies of his books for inscription. I placed two padded mailing envelopes in the box as well; self addressed and paid postage was included on each envelope, so all he would have to do is inscribe the books, seal them, and then leave the packages for USPS to pick-up.  I even included a few Sharpies (fine and broad point) so if he choose to do so, he could open the package and do everything in one shot -- open, sign, seal.  No hunting for a pen required.  

So call me over prepared.  Fine.  I accept that.  (Sweetheart) Say I'm a little weird.  Fine.  I accept that.  But what would you do if someone you admired and whose work you've read and respected over the years extended a similar courtesy?   Would you pass up an opportunity?   I'll get back to you reader, and tell you how my care package turns out.  Either way, I'll continue to read and write authors or individuals I respect and admire.  Someday my son will know who his father's favorite authors were.  He won't have to guess.  

I believe writers want to put thoughts and ideas out to the world.  They want us -- readers -- to hear their voice through the printed word.  And I'm willing to bet they don't mind hearing back from their readers -- in moderation of course -- because how else would they know if they make it through the ether?

If you are interested in knowing more about Mr. Dirda's books, check them out here.

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