To the voice of my first and second childhood:

I have never written to an author.

Suddenly I’m reminded of that scene in Sleepless in Seattle – have you seen it? Meg Ryan is composing a letter (with the assistance of Rosie O’Donnell) to Tom Hanks and she begins it by saying, “I have never written a letter like this in my life,” and Rosie says, “that’s what everyone writes at the beginning of letters to strangers.”

So my opening lacks originality. But, as C.S. Lewis says, “no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

So I must simply try to tell the truth.

Your writing has uncovered parts of me that have not seen sunlight for years: mystery, purity, creativity, possibility…all considered spare parts once we reach adulthood. You make it clear these are the only parts worth saving.

When I finished reading The Changeling tonight I started crying and couldn’t stop, just like Martha. I suddenly felt as though someone knew me and was saying my name over and over, each time with more love than the last.

I hope I haven’t embarrassed myself, or you. I just had to tell you.


P.S. I can’t imagine how many letters you receive of this kind, but if you ever want to see how you influenced one of your fans, watch my poetry reading:


Hello Ben,

I loved what you wrote about “uncovering parts of you that have not seen sunlight for years.” And I found your poetry intriguing. I can understand why you related well to Ivy and Martha. Thanks for writing.

Zilpha K. Snyder

2 thoughts on “Correspondence

  1. Good for you, being brave enough to write to someone you admire. Doing that sort of thing is kind of nerve-wracking and/or terrifying, but how nice of her to respond and to check out your work.

    I was not familiar with Zilpha K. Snyder’s work, but now I’ve added the Changeling to my Amazon wishlist.

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