I am twisting the rules tonight.
My post is not really about any advice, but about the most inspiring thing I ever heard, that has to do with my writing.
The lady above is Miss Amélie Nothomb.
Amélie is without the shadow of a doubt my favorite author of all times. She is absolutely brilliant. She fools readers with a very discreet, seemingly simple penning, but she plays with the French language better than anyone I’ve read before. She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, making awesome story telling appealing to all levels of readers.
Long story short, I admire her, and I have for the last twenty years or so.
A couple of years back, I received a message from my little brother while I was at work. Amélie was in Montréal for a signing session the same night, in a famous downtown bookstore.
I had to be there.
After calling my boss to get permission to leave early, I ran home and wrote a long letter, just in case I’d actually get a chance to give it to her. I ran to the subway, and rushed to the bookstore, hoping I’d be in time.
And I was. When I walked by the large windows, I spotted her right away. There she was, all dressed in black, with her odd hat and her bright red lipstick. My heart skipped a beat, litterally.
I got in the store, and bought two copies of her most recent book, for her to sign. One for me, and one for J. And I got in line… One hell of a line.
I knew that she felt awkward around people, and this signing night was probably incredibly stressful for her. But I just needed to take a chance. I had read several times that she had an out-of-this-world memory, and remembered all and every person she met. I just needed to leave a trace in her genius brain.
I called J, about halfway through the line. Telling my bestfriend I was about to meet our favorite author would give me the courage to make it to the table where Amélie welcomed her fans.
There were only three or four people before me, when the store officially closed its doors. I was the last in line, and hoped Amélie wouldn’t try to shorten our already brief meeting, because of crowd exhaustion. I would easily have understood her, but still…
The man conducting this weird ballet finally gave me the sign, letting me know I could approach the table. Amélie welcomed me, all smiles, and I was starstruck. My words stumbled, and I mumbled. I slipped my letter across the table, trying to say the words in my little note would do much more respect to her than anything I managed to say, at that moment.
The only intelligent words I recall, coming from my lips at that moment were;
My brother offered me ”Attentat” (French name of one of her books) for Christmas in 1997, and I read it overnight. I’ve followed you ever since, and you have given me back the dream of becoming a writer myself.
So, do you write? What do you write about?
I told her I had a day job that took most of my time, but that I hosted a blog, where I posted fiction, poetry and other silly stuff.
So you write… Therefore you’re already a writer!
Her smile was so genuine, I felt her comment was just the confirmation to go forward. She probably wouldn’t read my letter later… And certainly wouldn’t give me any feed back, but her aknowledging me as a writer was already enough.
And a week later, there was a letter in the mail for me, hand written. From Amélie. Thanking me for my twenty++ years of being a fan. And her best wishes for my writing projects…
What about you? Do you have any story about good advices you got, or just inspiring thoughts about your own writing, that made a difference.
If you’d like to read about Marquessa’s best advices on writing, click here.