I know this isn't necessarily about Ray, and this is a forum about him, but since there is no 'general discussion' forum, I figured I'd post it here anyway. If the moderators feel this is too off-topic, then please close it.
That being said...
Many of us here have written Mr. Bradbury a letter or sent a book in hopes to have it signed. I just mailed out my package the other day. But, beyond him (and please, if you have wrote him and received a reply, please do tell) - have you written any other authors and received a reply?
I once wrote Chuck Palahniuk a letter, this was probably close to 4 years ago now, asking for a copy of a rare out of print book by Amy Hempel that I had heard he was giving free copies away of if you wrote him. I forgot about sending the letter, but a few months later, I received a brown box on my doorstep with no return address. I was almost reluctant to open it. When I did, inside he sent me a free copy of his book 'Fugitives and Refugees' inscribed to me (explaining he'd given all of his Hempel books away), a custom made necklace personalized to me, a Jesus nightlight, some candy, a wig and clip on ear rings and a thank you card. Truly a great package, and he spent about $5 out of his pocket to mail it to me, to boot.
I also mailed Kurt Vonnegut my copy of 'Slaughterhouse-Five' about a year ago, a nice, virtually unread early printing, in great hopes that he'd sign and return, but I haven't received it back yet. From what I understand, he no longer signs books through mail, unfortunately.
Anyway, this is getting pretty long. But please share any other successes you've had, or for that matter, any failures you've had. Perhaps this thread could be used as a small database for us who are trying to get in touch with some of our favorite writers? Anyway, I look forward to reading your replies.
Short answer: yes, and I'd have to go through my Book List to count.
William C. Anderson started me off on the right foot. He was almost the first author I wrote and certainly the first to answer. I've always been honest, even at the age of 13 when I started writing to authors. (This tendency still gets me into trouble regularly--I also have a high tolerance in others for what I consider real honesty--not just criticism for the sake of criticism--and have been called a few times for tolerating a bit too much here on the forums--but can't stand the thought of the alternative.)
I never hesitated to say, even at that age, that "I like your books, but there's one thing--" In this case I told the author the use of alcohol in his autobiographical books was excessive and that alcohol kills brain cells. He wrote me back that I am obviously one of these young people who care, the world needs more like me, and recommended other works of his I might enjoy! If he hadn't done this, I might have quit (in discouragement, which I can and do, much as I know better) and been deprived of the immeasurable blessings I've received from my correspondence with others, especially the incomparable Mr. Ray Bradbury!
When my son was born in 1990, something in me changed and all of a sudden life became this sacred thing. I had to write Ray to tell him thanks for giving me an appreciation of such things. Around 1994, I wrote Ray again when my father's house burned and took my RB collection with it. One book survived, "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Ray wrote back with the name of a bookstore that keeps many of his works in stock. Then, in 1996, I wrote Ray again and enclosed an unedited version of my published "Letter to the Editor" to a national magazine that did an interview with Ray a couple months before. Finally, in 1998, I learned by chance that Ray had lectured just hours from me, and I missed it. Again, Ray responded to my letter, with a date that he would be lecturing and book-signing at the University of Illinois--and there, I was able to shake his hand, and he signed my copy of "Something Wicked" that had survived the fire. The man is a national treasure. Since then, I've sent a couple of birthday cards with best wishes inside.
The only other famous person I've ever written is an actor. In 1966, I did get a response; a publicity still, "Logically yours, Leonard Nimoy." I still have it somewhere.
I wanted to write Stephen King after his book, "On Writing--A Memoir of the Craft," but didn't get it done.
There are many other brilliant writers out there--but just one that I knewI had to write to.
... My daughter, few years ago, wrote to Stephen King and got a small note back. Amazing! When I was a kid, I wrote a letter to famed anthropologist Margaret Meade and got a long letter back. The other letters I got waaaay back then were from Astounding Editor legend, John W. Campbell Jr., with his spiral signature that I remember well.
... Andre Norton wrote a lengthy letter back in the early 70's on her writing habits. Looking back, I have no idea what I could have ever written Margaret Meade for her to write back. I would be more interested in what I had to say nowadays that got her to write back.
I got a nice postcard from Stephen King, too, and also saw his house on my last visit to Maine.
What did you say to SK to elicit a response Cornelia, if I may ask?
I would like to post him (I have emailed him in the past), but would enjoy counsel as to how to write in order to expect an answer.
I would love to go to New England and see his house!
He's long been one of my favourites.
Same as to Ray--keep it brief. I remember I enclosed a "Family Circus" cartoon which had the children asking why Daddy was installing deadbolts if there was no boogeyman, and questioned whether Stephen King had quite passed that stage (from "childhood" to "adult" fears). He really loved that.
One of my best author correspondents was William O. Steele, who was really great and remains an inspiration. I was SO sad when he died, really! Several others, most everyone who answered was kind. Only one who bothered to answer and was not kind. Most people respond well if you really appreciate their work.
If you don't mind me asking, who wasn't kind when they replied? I'd actually really like to know.
I thought about sending something to SK, but his website has stated for the past several years that he doesn't sign works through the mail.
I really shouldn't rat, but okay. I went to quite a bit of trouble to put together and send a package to Canadian author Jean Little. In exchange, I wanted acknowledgement that the package arrived, and a few autographs. Five months later I wrote asking what's wrong, did she move or something? Six months after that, having sent nothing further, I got a four-page letter detailing everything that had gone wrong in her life during that time (and, yes, I was right, she had moved) and accusing me of "hounding" her--like two letters in five months is REALLY hounding! Didn't answer and haven't read anything of hers since. This was in 1994, I believe.
dandelion. Fear Not! According to her own words (see link) she didn't had anything nice to say to her computer as well.
Thanks for the link. I didn't know about her website because I was afraid to look.
I have had my students write to many authors (sometimes indivdually, sometimes as a class). We got a lengthy, friendly and appreciative response from Robert Cormier, answering students' questions and fondly recalling his trip to Australia. Australian young adult fiction author John Marsden (highly recommended!) sent a reply on audio tape.
I sent RB a brief note several years ago (via publisher), but didn't receive a reply (disappointing!) Maybe it's high time I tried again.
I haven't been on the RB message boards for a couple of years! I'm enjoying being back - though I had trouble logging on - had to slightly change my username.
We are thrilled silly to have you back!
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