To Do: Write More Fan Mail

September 2, 2015 § 8 Comments

When I was quite small, I wrote a letter to Oscar the Grouch.*  I made the editorial decision to sign my first piece of fan mail as “Grungetta” (perhaps believing that Oscar would pay more attention to a letter from someone he knew, but more likely just because Playing Pretend is the best game ever).  I ripped up construction paper to include in the envelope, because it seemed only proper to send him some trash.

And I got a reply:

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I was gleeful that the response addressed me as Grungetta — they believed I was the real deal!  (Clearly I didn’t notice the return address…)   For a very long time after receiving this letter, whenever I saw Oscar’s trashcan on Sesame Street, I wondered if the pieces of paper I’d ripped up were still on his floor.

I also wrote to Mr. Rogers whose typewriter was not full of trash:

IMG_2094I was deeply disappointed he wasn’t able to come over for dinner.  He’s still one of my heroes.

Jumping ahead through years that involved only very occasional fan letter writing (mostly to authors), we arrive in the present day where letter writing is one of my nerdoms and I believe in letting people know they’re appreciated.  This combination is clearly a recipe for writing fan mail.  Accordingly, I recently decided to write to the creative minds behind Pretend Wizards.  It became a fairly elaborate production.  Scissors and glue were involved and there were multiple pieces by the time I finished.

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I had a few moments of wondering if I was going overboard.  But I quickly squashed that thought.  I’ve gotten many, many hours of enjoyment thanks to what this group of people has created and I really wanted to let them know in style.  So, I did.  They subsequently talked about receiving and enjoying my fan mail on the “Mail Bag” section of one of their episodes, which was awesome.

Why am I telling you about these letters I’ve written?  To encourage you to write fan mail to people who do the creative things you love and to the people who inspire you in some way.  It’s win-win.  You get to be unabashedly enthusiastic and the recipient gets tangible appreciation.  Try it — write someone a letter of wholehearted admiration.  As appropriate, include ripped up paper, a dinner invitation, or a selection of teas.  If so inspired, report back.  I predict that both you and your recipient will feel better about humanity in general as a result.

___

*The idea to write to Oscar and Mr. Rogers originated from my mom who has a genius for proposing simple activities that kids adore.  If you have kids, teach kids, hang out with kids, etc., a letter writing project is an excellent undertaking.

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§ 8 Responses to To Do: Write More Fan Mail

  • Jen says:

    I love this about you. Such a great thing to reach out and have someone reach back, especially when you are a small person. For all your childhood shyness, you were bold with correspondence. We are lucky that Sally treated us as and encouraged us to think of ourselves as full-fledged people from the beginning.

    Jim (aka Jimmy) once sent a drawing in to Miss Sally on Romper Room, and she showed his drawing on the air. So exciting!

  • Barbara Winter says:

    Great piece. Sharing on Facebook. I’ve been a longtime writer of fan mail. Getting a reply is just a bonus.

    • Annie says:

      Thanks, Barbara! I agree that the writing of fan mail is the heart of the experience. In a way, the fan mail itself is a reply to the creation of whatever you’re enthusiastic about.

  • Again, this post makes me so happy. Love that you did (and do!) this.

    • Annie says:

      Thanks, again, G.G.!

      Expressing appreciation and enthusiasm strikes me as one of the best ways to help people stay excited about what they’re creating. Also, I got to use scissors and glue and multi-colored pens and words, which are key components of things I’m excited to create. In short, it has a good sporting chance of leading to everybody involved being excited about undertaking more creative endeavors, which is win-win-win. :)

  • limner1 says:

    How very sweet! And creative with the paper bits. The only people who have ever answered my fan mail are authors. Maeve Binchy was one of the last. :)

    This is a very lovely post.

    • Annie says:

      Thank you, Limner!

      Maeve Binchy had a reputation for being a truly lovely human being; I’m glad she wrote to you. I’ve had several responses from authors over the years and it’s always a thrill.

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