Then I came home. As I opened the door a letter on the floor was evidence that the postman and dropped off our mail. I picked it up. Entered the house. Studied the writing, turning it over a few times. I didn't recognize the handwriting and I was trying to place who it could be from. It was from the States. I was intrigued. As I pulled it from its cocoon I opened it slowly, with deliberation. This had to be something good. Or mildly interesting in the least.
I was so unprepared for what I would find. I letter from - gasp! - JOHN IRVING! What?! Eeekkk and hoorays and smiles bigger than Texas!! And eeeek again! Wow. How does a day get much better than this? I had written to Mr. Irving (or shall I call him John? We're probably on a first-name basis by now.) a couple of months ago upon my return from Malta, where my husband and I took a vacation. During the trip I was reading one of John's more recent novels "Last Night on Twisted River." In the book is a character named Injun Jane who never fails to wear this Cleveland Indians baseball cap. This crazy grinning chief is something like a talisman to Injun Jane. As my husband and I rode through the skinny, winding streets of Malta I saw in the distance a conglomeration of what abandoned buildings - totally devoid of colour and would, in fact, blend in with their surroundings almost perfectly it if weren't for one thing: the big grinning face of the Cleveland Indians mascot. Now what on earth was that grinning chief doing on the side of a building in Malta, of all places?
I finished his book while I was on vacation. And as always, the punch was in the ending. And it left me feeling like I had to wait awhile before I could start readhing anything else. And in fact, I've been having a difficult time engaging in another book since then. It was great to be filled with such inspiration on such an amazing trip. When I got home I just knew I had to write to John. I felt like the biggest geek in all of the world - searching for the "official John Irving website" online and trying to find his address. Found one and thought, "yea, as if this will go anyway. But shit, man, you never know." So I wrote him a letter. Sent it to his PO Box in Vermont. Admitted in the letter that I felt like an idiot for writing a fan letter. I mean I'm a 35 year old woman for Christ's sake! But I did it anyway. And BOOM! Got a response. Yea, it's typed. And the signature might be from an assistant. And he probably didn't even type it himself. But he had to get those words to whoever did type it. And his response makes me very aware he read my letter. And that just puts me over the moon. And further validates my inkling to do a bit of writing.
Now I am filled with an urge of incredibly intensity to write back and become his best-bud pen pal. But that would just be crazy. Just crazy. But not creepy, right?