{a story of fail}

Yeesh. It’s been a while. Firstly because I’ve been super busy driving back and forth from SF to Oregon for various reasons, and secondly because everything I would’ve had to blog about is basically a story of fail, so I’ve been avoiding it.

Case in point:

1. Missed Friday Favorite again.

2. Was supposed to have finished Our Mutual Friend by Friday to blog about it on Book Blob. Did nay finish.

3. Because of trips to and from SF, I had to return On Canaan’s Side to the library before I finished! And now it’ll be another million years, if ever, that it will come around on reserve hold for me again. So I will never know how it ended. GAH.

Here, though, is the one interesting thing I have to talk about. My immediate thought upon reading this was, “Why on earth would famous writers respond to a 16-year-old high school student? And through snail mail nonetheless!” My second one, “Why was I not badass enough to mail more letters to authors when I was young enough for it still to be considered cute/precocious and not sad/stalkerish?”

The second question is, perhaps, not entirely fair. My most prized possession to this day is the response I received from Beverly Cleary after writing her a multiple-page document that was, in hindsight, more like a diary entry than a fan letter. Not only did she respond, but she answered questions I’d posed, proving that she actually read it! I was thrilled. And continue to be so.

But I digress. How hilarious is Norman Mailer, that he typed out a separate reply saying he couldn’t reply? And Ray Bradbury definitely reached bamf status by referencing Guy Fawkes’s Day.

As a longtime English student myself who has frequently been “tired of symbol hunting,” I found the authors’ answers actually less brilliant than I might’ve hoped. Perhaps that’s why I never bothered to send out similar letters: My illusion of the omnipotent author would’ve taken a severe blow. I did enjoy McAllister’s conclusion as to why he got so many responses: My mind instantly conjured the image of poor, lonely writers being ignored by the other kids as their precious books got torn apart by scholars and high schoolers. Literary theory of all kinds is pretty much beyond me, but I’m sure someone who’s studied Barthes and actually understood it would have some pretty big things to say here.

What do you think? Did the authors’ letters answer any of your long-standing questions about symbolism? Any authors out there care to weigh in with their opinions?

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