Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Thank A Writer Post: Michael Chabon

 This is the second of five posts in a series of thank-you notes to writers. The project was started by Maggie Mason of Go Mighty and Nathan Bransford.

Dear Mr. Chabon,

I don't really know how to thank you. A tired phrase like "hours of enjoyment" seems a poor return for the brilliant sentences you've given me, such as "Nat, an atheist, prayed for it to stop."

There's the rub. After the hours of enjoyment--and those are very many and very enjoyable--the most important thing I get out of reading your work is an inspiration to try to come even slightly close to being the writer that you are. It makes, well, _writing_ a thank-you note difficult. And thank-you notes are kind of one of my things.

I have a confession to make: I didn't like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh when it came out. Or I refused to. My father brought it home from the library when I was a senior in high school, because he thought I should be up on the current crop of literary wunderkinder. I dutifully read it and then reported that, while better than Emperor of the Air (with which I always associate it), it was no great shakes. Then I proceeded to think about it, and especially about Phlox, on at least a weekly basis for the next 12 years.

Then The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay came out, and no one would shut up about it, and I read it, and I never wanted it to end and I want to read it over and over for the rest of my life. Since then I've never looked back. You kind of ruined my life again with Summerland, which is the American-folklore-based YA fantasy book I would have written if I knew more about baseball and were a genius. I wish more people had read it, and that I could make it a movie.

Pretty soon this note is just going to become a list of books, because they're all good.

Thank you for writing books that make realism seem magical, and for using your literary magic to show how love connects us. But most of all, thank you for forcing me to like your work, despite my envious self.

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