Occasionally, when I read a book that I really like I write to the author and tell them so. This has led to some great interactions with authors that I admire.
So after reading Farley Mowat’s most recent book, Otherwise, I jotted down a few words to express my gratitude for the book and explain how and why the stories in the book moved me. Then I got ready to put the letter in the mail. Except this time I did things a little differently.
I have recently published a book entitled Arctic Inspired: A Tribute to the Tundra, which is a compilation of 30 people’s images and stories inspired by their self propelled travels in the arctic. I think Mowat’s stories of the north are partly responsible for my interest in the arctic, so in recognition of all the stories he has shared with others about the north, I thought it was only appropriate to humbly share our stories with him. So, along with the letter I stuffed a copy of our book into the envelope.
But how did you get the home address of a famous author you ask? One who has has sold 14 million books, had them translated into 52 languages and been made an officer of the Order of Canada – our nations highest civilian honour?
I just used the internet. It took less than 30 seconds. I even got his home phone number.
I didn’t expect to hear back, but lo and behold I got a letter from Farley today. I was quite tickled to say the least. Sure, Farley’s writing has caused some controversy over the years, but the man has had a fascinating and adventurous life that has been anything but boring, and I admire that! I hope my life is at least as interesting.
So, what did he say?
Well, in part, he said this:
I really envy your own experiences in the Barrens. Obviously you were there a lot longer and covered a lot more ground but I share with you the sense that this is a special part of the world. I often dream about it too and have trouble not writing about it most of the time.
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of Arctic Inspired: A Tribute to the Tundra. It truly is a piece of inspirational writing. The deep admiration, affection, and commitment to the north that is displayed by all those who took part in the project is clear at a glance. I am very happy to have this book beside me and will refer to it whenever I feel lonely, miserable, and deprived.
I guess that means he likes it. If that is the case then I am honoured. I hope the same is true for the rest of the book’s contributors. I am also very happy to have given something back to this remarkable man who has shared so many of his experiences and ideas with his readers.