My friend Jane and I lived in the same dark, goblin neighborhood on the lake. We rode the bus together to exercise class, where we listlessly did leg lifts and chatted about movies.
During months on the road with her husband’s rock band, movies saved Jane. Occasionally she banged a tambourine onstage, but often she went to movies instead.
“It’s all quite boring really. I couldn’t have gotten through without Sam Shepard.”
She was a huge fan of Sam Shepard. Her husband thought it was very funny.
She said of Shepard:
1. He was “the best thing in Days of Heaven.” (I’m more a Richard Gere person myself.)
2. He was “the best thing in Frances.”
3. He was “the best thing in The Right Stuff.”
You get the picture.
I knew Sam Shepard was the author of Buried Child, and that impressed me. I used to think actors were idiots, and if an actor could write, ergo he was not an idiot.
I wonder if Jane ever wrote him a fan letter, or got to meet him. Who knows? She was poor, but moved in elite circles.
Click on the email link at Sam Shepard’s website and you get this:
“I don’t have a computer. I don’t have an Internet. I don’t have the
e-mail. I don’t have any of that shit.” …Sam Shepard
It certainly is funny, though I could not say whether or not it is true.
Although I am a fan of many writers, I’ve never written a fan letter to an actor or a musician. I love R.E.M. and Matt Damon, but they so obviously operate in a different sphere that it would never occur to me to write to them.
Now I do understand what writers do, so I’ve written a few fan letters to them. In the age of snail mail, I once wrote to Paul Fussell correcting a Latin error in his book Class: A Guide Through the American Class System. Charming, Kat! I’m sure he would have been happier if I had simply said I loved the book.
E-mail makes writing fan letters easier. If a writer’s name isn’t on his or her website, somebody will usually give you an address. Last year for this blog I interviewed Peter Stothard, Karen E. Bender, D. J. Taylor, and Lionel Shriver, among others. Just five questions by email, so I hope it didn’t take too much of their time. If not for the internet, this would never have happened. In my freelancing days, I wasn’t a big fan of the phone interview. But in the age of the internet, CLICK CLICK!
Will I do that again this year? I don’t know. Do you think Delia Ephron, Alice Hoffman, or Karen Joy Fowler would do an interview with a blogger?
It never hurts to ask!