LETTER WRITING: "More than kisses, letters mingle souls." John Donne

Harper Lee. William Styron. Donald Hall. Kaye Gibbons. Katherine Applegate. Lisa Wingate. Brian Selznick. Glenn Taylor. Each one, an author or a book that resonated with me so much that I found it absolutely necessary to let them know. And the best part, they each wrote a note back to me. Early on, the note was written or typed, signed, inserted into an envelope, sealed, stamped, and sent on its way for me to discover inside my mailbox. And then the moment, when carefully releasing the sealed flap, I couldn't breathe -- at least not normally, until I did, holding the watermarked paper close to the light and reveling in its delicacy and strength -- two seemingly disparate character

GIRLFRIENDS & THEIR STORIES

"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing." Charlotte's Web When I first met my friend, Patricia Tuckwiller, I did not know -- nor could I have known -- that years later her story would be so profound that I would incorporate it in a novel for the MG reader. Marble Town tells the story of young Cole Atwater whose mother, like my friend, is killed in an automobile accident. And while I, at the time, questioned too which direction to take after the loss of such an influential friend, it is Cole who many years later pointed me in the right direction. Thus, life indeed has a way of imitating art, which Oscar Wilde opined in his 1889 essay, "The Decay

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