It's no secret that my literary crush, my author idol, my all-time favorite I-want-to-be-her-when-I-grow up writer is Cynthia Rylant.
I gushed about my stalking here.
Eighteen years ago (1999), I sent her a letter to tell her how much she had influenced my writing.
That letter read, in part:
In my journey to becoming a children's writer, I've searched long and hard for my voice - the voice that will bring authenticity, heart, and soul to my writing. I've read hundreds of children's books - and no writer has touched me like you have. I'm sure I've read Missing May twenty times.
Finally I realized why your writing touches me. You write from the heart - and plunk your characters right down in the middle of your heart's home...That's when I knew how to bring my voice to my writing.
Without this letter, you would never know that your writing has touched another writer to the core - and has continued the chain of creative spirit.
-->Imagine my excitement when she wrote me back!!!
Well, recently, an amazing thing happened.
I received a letter from an author named Sybil Berkey that totally blew me away.
It read, in part:
As you know, there's great power in stories, and your storytelling has affected me deeply, as a person and as a fellow writer. There aren't many people who've impacted my creative process and expression the way you have. Your work consistently challenges me to dig deeper and always make sure I'm giving my everything - story and style - with well-developed characters.
In short, you've encouraged me to find my true place and voice as a writer.
Reading that note was a magical, full-circle moment for me.
I felt such joy and satisfaction knowing that I was able to do for another author what Cynthia Rylant did for me.
And I was so grateful that she took the time to tell me.
Thank you, Sybil.
Funny how the world works that way, isn't it?