March 28th, 2011

Diana Wynne Jones

I was just thinking about Diana Wynne Jones the other day. I think about her with some regularity, as she’s one of my favorite writers and a close personal friend (inside my head, anyway).

Sometimes I think about the anecdote I read, about the time she tried to serve her sons galoshes at tea-time, because she’d been working on a story and had absent-mindedly put footwear in the oven instead of chicken fingers or whatnot.

Sometimes I think about which book of hers to re-read: Hexwood, a sort of sci-fi fantasy romance mystery in which King Arthur makes an appearance? One of the hilarious Chrestomanci books (with that character, DWJ practically invented the concept of “metrosexual”)? Archer’s Goon, which starts out as a fantasy and turns into sci-fi and has a charming and completely unexpected romantic twist (that doesn’t even belong to the protagonist)?

And sometimes I think how fabulous it will be when I send her my soon-to-be-published fantasy novel for a back-cover blurb. And how we’ll chat about writing and publishing and which imaginary universe is the most fun, the most dangerous, the most double-takey.

So you can imagine my devastation when I read her obituary earlier today. How could she go and do a silly thing like die before we had a chance to hang out?

When I first joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Joan Aiken was listed in the members directory. With contact information. Joan Aiken. I had big daydreams then, too, of dropping her a line, gradually building a friendship, occasionally hopping across the pond to get together for tea. And then she pulled the same kind of stunt, and quit the stage before I had a chance to act on my fanboy inclination.

Well, that does it. I’m not going to let it happen to me again. Next time I practically worship a writer, I’m just going to come right out and let them know.

How about you? How you written a fan letter lately?  

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