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Last week, I went to get the mail and I read the return address on an envelope as I pulled it out of the box.  “Oh, it’s a letter from Gil at The Hardest Quest,” I thought as I read the name.

Then I paused and said to myself, “that’s really strange because the letter is marked from New York, and not Canada.”  And then upon further thought, Gil’s last name isn’t Murphy.  The only Gillia.n M.urphy I “know” (as in, I am conscious of her existence, though we’ve never met) is the ABT dancer.

And that was the writer of the letter.

The ChickieNob and Wolvog wrote her a letter last year, enclosing a drawing they each did of her in Swan Lake.  I forgot about it, never assuming that we’d hear back.

I wish I had thought to have out my video camera when I handed the letter to the ChickieNob right outside her kindergarten classroom.  The look on her face could only be described as stunned bliss: this mixture of amazement that we live in a world where such extraordinary things can happen and happiness that her enormous love boomeranged back at her in the form of a letter exchange from her idol.

Seeing her reaction was a perfect moment. (Thank you for making me notice them, Lori.  And Gil, I would have been equally excited to receive a note from you as I would a ballet dancer!)

If you could write anyone in the world and receive a letter back in return, who would it be?


1 a { 10.03.10 at 9:10 am }

That’s awesome! I like writing letters and emails, and I’m pretty pleased if anyone writes me back – it’s not something people do that much any more. I suspect that, given my daughter’s tendency to make drawings for her friends for their birthdays, we will soon be finding out which people will write back to little girls (and boys) who send out drawings.

2 caitsmom { 10.03.10 at 9:10 am }

That’s easy. I’d write a letter to my daughter. And she would write back. I can’t imagine what stories she might tell me of heaven, where I believe she lives now. But perhaps she will write stories from my heart, where I feel her presence every day.

3 HereWeGoAJen { 10.03.10 at 1:55 pm }

That’s wonderful. I am so pleased that she wrote back.

I always regret not writing to Madeleine L’Engle. Because I found out (after she died) that she answered her fan mail herself and would have answered me. Plus, I wish I had told her how much I liked her writing. (I have written to a few of my other favorite authors since, as I learned my lesson, but none of them have answered me. Neither did the President, when I wrote to him a long time ago. Oh, but I did get a letter back from the Keebler Elves.)

4 loribeth { 10.03.10 at 3:14 pm }

So wonderful that she took the time to reply. I’ll bet ChickieNob will treasure that letter all her life.

When I was in junior high, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Winnipeg Tribune — who happened to be one of the rare women at that level of the business — asking for her advice on becoming a journalist. I still have that letter I received in response in a desk drawer at my parents’ house, & I will always be grateful to that woman for taking the time to write such a kind & encouraging letter to a young teenager.

5 Angie { 10.03.10 at 4:53 pm }

Wow, I love it. What an awesome treat. Mail is so cool in how it brings such joy. To me at least, and I see my daughter light up at the idea of mail. When I was in eighth grade, we had a joint English/Science project to write a letter to a famous scientist. We were learning letter writing, and I picked Alexei Leonov who was the first cosmonaut to do a space walk. This was still the time of the cold war, I hesitate to admit, and reaching out to a Russian cosmonaut was strange and scary and very edgy. When he wrote back nine months later, I had forgotten all about it. It was awesome. I was in love with my letter even though he called me Mr. Angie, and thought I was a boy. A letter on Russian Space Program letterhead all in Russian with a translation attached. I still have the letter. For some reason, my grandfather laminated it for me “as a gift”, since he had a laminator and was laminating crazy, which has annoyed me for years, decades really. But still, I have it. And at the time, I made the front page of the local paper in the smallish town I grew up in. It felt huge. Letters make me so very happy.

6 Bea { 10.03.10 at 6:41 pm }

That’s so cool she wrote back! What a great sport.


7 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.03.10 at 9:03 pm }

How exciting for ChickieNob — and for you!

What I like most about this is that it may make ChickieNob understand her power to connect and the power of her words. What a beautiful lesson to learn at her age, that she has a voice, and people listen and respond.

8 tara { 10.03.10 at 9:45 pm }

that is so cool.
A few years back, Chuck Palahniuk said he’d send a package and note to anyone who wrote him. He has a sick sense of humor but I’ve read alot of it. He wrote me a mostly form letter but it was clear that he had read my letter and scribbled something (not typed) at the bottom. The package was cool too.
It was the week before I miscarried… because for the longest time I’d look at that picture of myself holding my “power animal” (a clownfish) and think that was the last time I was really happy.
JM Coetzee also wrote me back once (email but still!) I think I like writing authors- if I meet them at book signings I feel stupid– I mean everyone else is there to say “you are so cool!” but if you’re writing you can actually think about your words.

9 Justine { 10.03.10 at 9:51 pm }

What a wonderful gift! Not enough people write real mail any more … there’s something magical about opening that letter, especially if it’s from someone you’d never expect to write back.

Not sure whom I’d write to, though, strangely enough! I don’t know if there’s anyone I idolize in that way right now … most of my “heroes” are ordinary people. 🙂

10 luna { 10.04.10 at 3:04 am }

oh how I would have loved to have seen the look of wonder on her face.
love lori’s comment too.
and how cool is it that she wrote back? so sweet.

11 luna { 10.04.10 at 3:05 am }

oh how I would have loved to have seen the look of wonder on her face.
love lori’s comment too.
and how cool is it that she wrote back? so sweet.

12 edenland { 10.04.10 at 6:19 am }


13 Kir { 10.04.10 at 11:09 am }

wow…how incredibly awesome for her and you. I love when people take the time to “write back” .

I would love a note back from anyone I admire, from Patrick Stewart, to Pat Conroy, to Anne River Siddons, to Mariska Hargitay or even one Mel…;)


14 Gil { 10.05.10 at 11:45 am }

Well now! First of all, I’m so glad that she wrote back! That’s wonderful! It’s such fun to receive letters. I often wish that blogger friends would stop and take the time to write an actual snail mail rather than a comment. REALLY connect with someone on a personal level (assuming they feel that way of course). The written word is powerful and can make someone’s day, that’s for sure.

I have and do write many letters. In fact I wrote one last week to Canada’s Minister of Health (Deb Matthews) regarding the article I saw in the newspaper about the “High Cost of IVF stall(ing) funding in Ontario.” I doubt I’ll get a response. But you never know.

As for someone I’d love to write to and receive a letter back? There are too many to count! They’d range from my favourite musician (John Taylor of Duran Duran fame… yeah, I’m old) to a friend from years gone by whom I’ve been searching for for years, to my dearly departed grandmother, for she was loved greatly and is missed every day.

You know something? Maybe I need to ask around the blogging world for some addresses. I would like to pay it forward and write to some of the bloggers who have touched me over the years and who have made a difference in my life. And that list includes you Mel. It DEFINITELY includes you.

15 loribeth { 10.05.10 at 3:57 pm }

I forgot to mention that, last year, I wrote a review of the book “Columbine” on my blog, which I read while on my vacation — an amazingly well researched book about a tragic event. The author, Dave Cullen, actually posted a comment on my blog, & we went back & forth for awhile, about grief & empathy & traumatic losses of all sorts. I was completely tickled that he took the time to write, & I still have his blog in my reader.

16 Kristin { 10.06.10 at 2:42 pm }

I am so thrilled for ChickieNob. That must have been a magical moment.

I think the person I would write to would be my Grandma. I never got to write down all the family stories she told me before she died.

17 flying monkeys { 10.06.10 at 6:18 pm }

This post made me smile because I can just imagine the face. How awesome is it that she wrote back?!

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