Maggie Mason and I are writing thank you notes to our five favorite authors in the #ThankAWriter project. This is letter #3. Please join us! See this post to find out how to create a Go Mighty profile and see all the other inspiring letters.
Important update to the #ThankAWriter project! Now, not only do you have the chance to give thanks to some of your favorite authors, every one you write an post about on Go Mighty enters you to win the first six books in their Penguin Drop Caps series.
My third letter in the #ThankAWriter is to Vikram Seth, author of A Suitable Boy and The Golden Gate, who I took a class from in college.
When I was a senior in college at Stanford I took a small class from you, where you introduced me to The Wife of Martin Guerre and we discussed creativity. I’m not sure if you would remember this conversation, but one day I went to talk to you during office hours and I told you that I thought I wanted to go work in publishing. You looked at me with a slightly horrified expression and said, “Why would you want to do that?!” and then told me that if I could depend at all on some further charity from my parents I should go instead write my first novel because you believed in my writing.
I didn’t listen to you. At least not at first. I did go work in publishing and ended up becoming a literary agent. I moved to San Francisco, where I was charmed by The Golden Gate and I was thrilled to be working with talented writers.
But your horrified expression stuck with me. I did go and write a novel. That one didn’t work out, and then I really depended on that expression when I wrote my next novel. That one did work out and became the Jacob Wonderbar series for children.
Having the belief of someone as accomplished as you meant such a huge amount to me. Not only did I appreciate that class and not only do I admire your work, I can’t thank you enough for that conversation and for the expression on your face.
Steve MC says
What a unique book The Golden Gate is. I dug up excerpts at Tor and PoemHunter and it's no wonder no one thought it would work, but it does.
Two Lives is one of my favorite books. Just thinking about it transports me to his weaving together of Indian and European history and culture. The book inspired me in my own writing about the 1930s.
What a sweet letter! This is a lovely gesture, Nathan. We so often don't realize the impact we have on people. I'm sure it will mean alot to him to know how much he influenced you in such an important way.
Another wonderful letter! And I agree with Mira, sometimes we don't know the impact we have on other people. It must be very special to receive a letter like this and find out.
The #ThankAWriter project made me think about influences. I wonder how much we (our career choices, behaviors, opinions, world views, etc.) are shaped by what we've read, versus our upbringing, our parents, our educations, and so forth. I imagine the answer is different for each person, but it's interesting to try and pinpoint the influences that have shaped who we each are.
Love this. So heartfelt and genuine. One my fav authors too!
🙂 Thanks, Nathan- I received _Martin Guerre_ from a fellow Stanford-ite a long time ago and have never read it (sorry, Dan!) –now that I have some context, maybe I'll go back to it!