Mighty Life List
Mar 20 2013

Project! Thank a Writer

When I was 15, I lived in Costa Rica for a month. I didn’t speak Spanish well, or much at all, so I spent my days in an exhausting state of presence — otherwise known as culture shock. Books let my brain relax, and one of my most poignant memories is staying up late to finish Lord of the Flies. My room was still unfamiliar and didn’t yet smell like home, and there were crickets sounding outside as I read the last passage. Closing the book, I felt overcome. I set it on my chest and felt the weight of it while I breathed.

I chase that feeling when I read. The one that makes me want to find the author, pour them a drink, and leave them to bask in the glow of their efforts. Damn.

On Go Mighty, I’ve come across a few of you who want to write thank you notes to your favorite authors. I recently mentioned it to my friend Nathan Bransford. He’s a first-order bibliophile — a children’s book author, a former literary agent, and he hosts a blog for writers at NathanBransford.com.

“Bransford!” I said. “We should do this.” And he agreed. So we both added “Write thank you notes to authors” to our Life Lists, and today we’re launching our #ThankAWriter Project on Go Mighty. Please join us in writing and delivering hand-written thank you notes to our favorite authors.

Here’s all you have to do:

1) If you don’t already have one, make a quick profile on Go Mighty.

2) Create a life list goal of thanking authors. (Here’s mine.)

3) Every time you write a thank you note, post a photo or the text on Go Mighty with the tag #ThankAWriter.

We’re doing one note a a week for five weeks, so join in. Say thank you to the strangers who have changed the way you think, and shaped who you’ve become.

My first thank you note is to an author who changed the way I think about mortality, you can read it on Go Mighty. I’ll feature some of my favorite letters here on Mighty Girl, so please do this with us! Who gets your first note?

10 Responses to “Project! Thank a Writer”

  • Nuala Reilly Says:

    I LOVE THIS!!
    I wrote my first thank you note to a writer (Maeve Binchy) when I was in my teens. It was long, and probably full to teenager-type gushing but…I did get a thank you back from her. She is still my number one influence in my own writing (or was, I cried when she passed last year) and I was thrilled that in her very last book, she had a character with my name. LOVE this idea.

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    ME TOO! I’m excited to read everyone’s notes.

    And I’m so sorry to hear about Ms. Binchy. I cried in a bookstore when I realized (from an author bio) that Jane Kenyon had died, so I get it. Oof.

  • Rachelle Smith Says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Great idea! But what’s your advice on actually finding the writer? The one I have in mind is not on Twitter or Facebook. Should I write to her at her publisher’s?
    Thanks and looking forward to watching this unfold!

  • jenny Says:

    Oh I LOVE this one! I’m going to join in, too. Thanks for inviting. :) Also, this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Mr._Henshaw

  • Megan Says:

    Maggie, re: Jane Kenyon, have you read Donald Hall’s The Best Day The Worst Day (http://bit.ly/WVzPw1)? Devastating and beautiful.

    Also: http://billmoyers.com/content/423/

  • Zack Kullis Says:

    Maggie, what a cool project! This is one of those things that just screams for support.

    Zack…

  • Toby Neal Says:

    Been following Nathan’s blog for ages and it led me here. This is inspiring and I’m delighted to join you on my own blog, and here if you’ll let me.
    Much aloha,
    Toby Neal
    Mystery writer from Maui

  • avb Says:

    I once did this and then I ended up working with the writer and she and her family became my second family. Never know where I thank you will lead.

  • dgm Says:

    My first letter would have been to Wallace Stegner (for everything, but mostly for “Angle of Repose.”) Sadly, he died in a car accident before I even came of age. I should probably track down a descendant.

    I love that you wrote to Thomas Lynch. What a savvy, insightful writer he is!

  • Bridget Says:

    I wrote a handwritten thank you to Anita Shreve, my favorite author who happens to live in the neighboring town. I delivered it to her in person when she was signing books at our local bookstore. Imagine my horror when she opened it and read it in front of me! I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so vulnerable. But I’m still glad I did it. :)