I realized a few days ago that it had been too long since I had written anything to you about . . . well, about anything. Over the past three years, I have been mired in completing three new books – Child of Light, which published last October; the forthcoming sequel to Child of Light, Daughter of Darkness; and another new story altogether. When I am caught up in writing, I am pretty directed in my use of time and energy. You can imagine well enough what that means when I am writing two or three at the same time. I feel happy when I am working and forget that sometimes I am being reclusive by doing so.
But this post isn’t about the vicissitudes of the writing life. This particular discussion is about you, readers and fans. This is about how much you mean to me – how much you have always meant. I started out in this business when it was nothing more than a hobby and without any real expectations of things going much of anywhere. Mostly, it was something I did for pleasure. I had been told often enough that I really wasn’t much of a writer, so I didn’t allow myself to get too worked up about what I was doing.
I still think that way. Maybe that is for the best; it keeps me from believing I am all that good at any of it. But what is real and what I have not talked about nearly enough is how grateful I am for all you do for me. And I am not talking about book sales. I am talking about the support you extend to me in other, less obvious ways. I am talking about the kindnesses you constantly bestow through words and deeds spoken and performed on my behalf. You do so much of both that I am left astonished over and over again. You make me feel in so many important ways that my work counts for something beyond the writing of my books.
No one ever makes a big deal out of these kindnesses. No one ever seems to be seeking anything in return. You just do these incredible things. Most, I do know something about. I read your posts and other communications and I am aware of the extent of your involvement with my work. Both Judine and Shawn pass along your comments and photos and chronicle your book activities, and I try to follow up on as much as I can manage. I am not as thorough at responding and acknowledging all of this as I should be, I know. I could do much better.
So, I want to try now to make up for that failure just a smidge with my own Fan Celebration! I want to momentarily celebrate what you mean to me. All of you readers, fans, and believers in the magic of books – I want you to know you really do count for a whole lot of my personal happiness.
I am telling you this in large part because of something Bill Cornette did for me recently. I have been aware of the fact that Bill collected, assembled and book-bound the comic strips that ran in a number of newspapers way back in 1977 when The Sword of Shannara was first published. Bill and I have crossed paths a few times over the years, and I know him to be a big collector of all things Shannara. He was kind enough to send me a copy of his book in 2019, and a few weeks back he sent me the latest edition for 2022.
So, a small acknowledgement for that gift. Thanks very much, Bill. Thanks for your ongoing involvement in my books and my writing. I am grateful.
This sort of recognition of my work is not unusual – this celebration of my writing by readers. Any number of you are doing something like this all the time, and I have to tell you I am constantly amazed. I am gifted with such treasures by so many. Being something of a recluse and a glass-half-empty kind of guy, I find it difficult to think that anyone would take the time to do such things for me. But you do, and it is what makes all the work count for something so personal. Your gifts come in many forms. They can be as ordinary as a postcard or as complex and deeply considered as a piece of music or a poem. It starts with a simple declaration of what my books mean to someone and goes all the way up to what Bill did by putting the time and work it required to assemble his Shannara comic collection.
So, here’s to all of you who have found something of value and entertainment in what I do because, really, by now I don’t know that there is anything else I can do. To Anthony, Cheryl, Eileen, Julie, Michelle, Rick, Rich, Robert, Suzanne and all the many others engaged in the Shannara Community and as readers and fans who feel connected to my work, thank you so much. I will keep writing if you will keep reading. Know that it means everything to me – what I do and how you respond in turn. I can’t believe how lucky I am.