I just got a message from a reader who used to enjoy my juvenile books:
I just wanted to say that though I have outgrown these books now (and I am sad about that) your books have blessed me a lot and helped me write a story about horses years ago.
I can’t even begin to say what they have done for my Dyslexic friend. I showed her and lent her a few of your books and now she has started to enjoy writing and she wrote a 40 page novel even though before she saw writing as a curse.
The story line each of your books holds is something hard to find in books for a younger audience and I have always enjoyed them and I keep them so when I have little girls of my own, they can read them.
I thank you for the inspiration. They take hold of me and I will always look back at buying one of your books and staying up all night reading it as a fond memory…
A number of things struck home with her email.
First, how fortunate I am that this girl emailed me years ago. She is a bright, vivacious person, and I feel blessed to have become her online friend.
Second, I love that she wanted to share her enjoyment with her own young friend. Isn’t that the way we are? We want to give the things that have meant so much to us to others, and their ensuing enjoyment in our gift gives us joy.
And third, the nature of stories. This one’s a bit harder to explain, so I’ll use the words of a master, Hermann Hesse:
… the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future.
I think stories exist much in the same way. They may seem to come from nowhere, but actually, they come from everywhere and everything. We ourselves are stories; everything we do, experience, think, desire, everything we perceive through our senses, is connected to our story. Everything that exists has a story, a reason, a purpose for being, no matter how simple, no matter how complex.
And stories in books are one of the bridges between us. My young friend read my book, which came from the story of my life and the myriad stories that I allowed to inspire and change me, and she allowed it to inspire her. My book and all that contributed to it, became part of her. And then she passed that inspiration along, her own story added to mix, and her friend was inspired as well.
We are none of us alone.