A word about letters
Iâ€™ll go back to the Q&A later, but I wanted first to say something about the letters I get.
Because I donâ€™t generally give out my email address, those who want to write me either have to take their luck with this blogâ€™s comments department, or sit down and put ink on paper, address it to me (which address is at the bottom of my siteâ€™s home page, for all to see) and dig out a stamp with some stick to it. And in the fullness of time, sometimes months later, a reply will find its way from me to the writer.
Mostly. I do get the occasional postcard-too-casual-to-return-address, which is fine, and Iâ€™m afraid my sleuthing skills have failed a handful of times when it came to deciphering the scribble jammed into one corner of the envelope. And then there are those that deliberately leave off addresses.
Those break my heart, really they do. That poor lady in her eighties (with arthritis, to judge by her writing) who took me to task for failing her with FOLLY, when she had been led to believe that here, at last, was a writer who could be trusted not to curse, only to get to page whatever of the book and have her mortal eyes offended by my taking of the Lordâ€™s name in vain. (Iâ€™d actually pretty sure that Russell swears from time to time, but perhaps this ladyâ€™s mortal eyes were already beginning to fail when she got to those passages.)
I could never write to apologize for my offense, because she remained anonymous, and forever stung by the bitter disappointment of LRKâ€™s duplicity. I can only hope she got her money back at the store.
But then there are the other letters that leave me, well, puzzled. For example:
Dear Mrs. King,
[Mrs? I always think of Mrs. King as my mother-in-law.]
Until earlier this year, I was blissfully unaware of the chronicles of Mary Russell, but that state was permanently ended when I purchased â€œThe Beekeeperâ€™s Apprenticeâ€ at a 3-for-the-price-of-2 sale at my local Borders store. Since then, with the help of my local public library, I have finished reading all of the Mary Russell novels. I must confess that they have a certain charm, despite the (generally) paper-thin plots and the preponderance of lesbian characters.
[So at this point in my reading of her letter Iâ€™m thinking, Well, the writer has an Indian name, maybe itâ€™s that her grasp of English isnâ€™t terribly subtle? I mean, to be blissfully unaware of these books with paper thin plots and too many lesbians (although I have to wonder which Russells sheâ€™s been reading, that she found lesbians so thick underfoot) is an appropriate beginning for a scathing letter, but when one goes from reluctantly accepting a free book to actively seeking out the series in the library, it indicates a certain affection, does it not?]
The reader then goes on to praise my theological subtlety, congratulate me [?] on remaining uninvolved with the Dan Brown plagiarism case, and correct a transliteration from THE GAME, finally ending by saying cheerfully that sheâ€™s looking forward to more of the series, including the â€œinevitableâ€ revelation that James Bond was Russellâ€™s son and Mycroft the original M.
You see why this letter has sat on my desk, so long unanswered? Where does one begin? Should my reply take an apologetic tone, or one of thanks?
Iâ€™m so confused.