The Millions

Dear Claire: On Letters From My Readers

I started writing in isolation. For me, it was the natural result of reading too much: those extra words bred in the pools between my ears, multiplying and evolving, and finally spilled out of me in a tidal rush. I read everything when I was young. I loved the privacy of being a reader, and how a book could be a shield between me and the rest of the world.  When I read, I felt reality melt away. It was the same when I wrote. Time flowed differently, moving at the pace of the stories I scratched out. I did not mind being alone inside those stories. I wrote for pleasure, because it felt natural, and because if I did not the excess of ideas in my brain would have nowhere to go. A hundred years ago, doctors bled patients to release the bad humors in their blood. My writing was no different. I was jabbing for a vein, trying to vent some of the pressure building up inside me.

Among other things, I wrote letters to the authors I liked the most., , , . These letters were long and very detailed, and always included a couple of questions.

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