Stories touch people

One of the things I never tire of is receiving email from readers who’ve enjoyed my work. Here’s one I received today, reprinted with permission:

Paul, I remember when my dad took me to see Star Wars on the first day in 77, I was 6 years old. I remember being locked out of my apartment, going to Barnes and Noble and buying The Crystal Shard in 88. More recently I remember starting my current job and reading Twilight Falling, although I read Shadow’s Witness before this, it wasn’t until then that I wrote you. I believe the e-mail address you used was either your business address or private address before Facebook, and before Twitter.

That was almost 10 years ago.

You have been so great to your fans it’s hard to express how much we appreciate what you do. How much we love your work. This past decade has been one where I have waited until the next year for your stories. The next year, the next year, then 10 years later. Amazing. I’m still waiting. Thank you so much for EVERYTHING.

I don’t want to overstate this, but stories touch people, get knit into the fabric of their lives. Reader emails like this are profound things for me, and I respond to all of them. I’ve heard from veterans in combat zones, readers with terrible illnesses, teenagers who never enjoyed reading but for whatever reason dug something I wrote, and on it goes. I’m enormously grateful and humbled by that.

Stories touch people. That’s a huge deal. Sales, money, whatever trivial celebrity comes with the gig, and all the rest are nice, but the real reward for doing this is found in emails like the one above.

I suppose I’ll keep at it a while yet. :-)

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3 Comments

  1. Hear, hear!

  2. I remember seeing the “Phantom Menace” in 1999 when i was just 5 years old and my dad saying “now we see the real movies”, we went home that night and watched the “old” star wars movies, all in one go.

    1st grade, everyone is reading “Pete goes to the store” while I pick up Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. See at my elementary school we had a reward program for reading books and taking test for points. By 4th grade I held the school record for “AR” points and was making my way through Brian Jacques’s “Lord Brocktree”, you should have seen my excitement in 6th grade when Rackety Tam was purchased by the school.

    Lets fast forward, its freshmen year of highschool, i’ve read my way through what i thought were the best fiction books, rangers apprentice just came out that year if i remember correctly. I’m in ap history as a freshmen in highschool, even though i read all the time I get along with just about everyone as I join the film club and make comedic writings and films for the school to enjoy.

    Still freshmen year and i think i’m fresh out of fiction to read and i’ve already finished the ap history book when in a small corner of the library i recognized something i’d never seen before, a bookshelf with “Forgotten Realms” written in gold lettering. I walk over, first book I pick up, Shadowbred by Paul S Kemp. First pages I was introduced to Erevis Cale and i immediately checked it out, along with Halls of Stormweather. Lets just say i was hooked from the start. This magic! And the characters, by Lathanders light! First shadowbred and then I read through the Erevis Cale trilogy. I was just so taken with this world it was astounding, finally something interesting! Refreshing, a great start to a great relationship with Faerun and friends.

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