Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear Kristin Hannah

Dear Kristin Hannah-

As a reader I am in love with you. I am sure you hear this a lot. How often do I run across someone while sitting on the local metro reading one of your books, and a complete stranger will say so. 'Don't you just love her.' But its true, I love you. Because you truly are that good. Not many books make me feel every emotion. But yours do. I laugh, I cry. I get angry-to the point I want to throw the damn thing across the room.-But mostly I cry. I specifically recall a moment in particular. When I was on the metro, reading Home Front. I was at a really good point to. The doors opened and chimed, riders got on and off. Usually I pay no attention to them. The seat beside me was empty and I feel a gentlemen come up. 'May I sit here?' He asked. I look up.

And have to pull out my sunglasses to avoid the tears I had already felt rising. He was in uniform. I tell him he can sit and he does. And I try to go back to my book, the man sitting beside me flips through a magazine. Somewhere I realize I have read the same line four times-its right at a good point of the book. But I can't concentrate because the man in uniform seems so different now. After what I had just read, my heart bleeds for him that much more. You brought me on to the battlefield, and I lost. I was there. Even if it was through a book, I suddenly felt like I knew so much more about it. And with the guy in uniform sitting beside me, I couldn't read it any further. I closed the book and sat in silence the entire way home out of DC.

And cried.

I used to hate this, reading these kind of books and crying. Especially in such an open place. It made me feel weak and silly because after all, its just a book. These characters aren't real. Despite what I may think otherwise, they aren't. But yours, are so much more than just a book. And your characters, come to life. If this makes any sense at all. I am pretty sure it doesn't. Now however, I relish these kind of books, because they are few and far between that can do so. And I know that this does not mean the book is terrible or that I am silly. It means its a good book. No scratch that, its a fantastic book. Because it does make me feel. With everything I have. 

So yes, as a reader I am in love you.

But as a writer, I hate you. Yes, I am aware hate is a strong word.  I do not hate you in the way one hates Lima beans, or math. Both I fully admit to hating. But rather because you truly are that good. Because you make me want to be better writer myself. Because I find myself pen in hand, rereading one of my several pieces of work-none of which have yet to be complete-thinking, this is so not what Hannah would do. I know this is unfair to my self. I am not you. I should not compare me to you. A professional who has had several scripts already turned into books. I am a novice who only at the moment aspires to be something greater. I know I am far off, and have a long way to go before I can even regard myself in the same category with the likes of you. Though should this ever happen would be an honor in itself.

But compare myself I do, so often my husband has to remind me to stop trying to be like you, and to be like me. Still, I want to be that kind of writer that makes her readers cry. And feel something. Maybe it won't exactly be to cry, because as I have mentioned very few can. But to make them feel an emotion as strong as you make me feel in any of your given books would be a win in my column. I have a long way to go.

Nor can I write when I am reading you. Its a habit I try to break. But I can't, maybe because I am comparing, and I know I need to stop. Or maybe because while I am reading your books something will go off and a whole other idea will form and then I must write, and I will not be happy until I get it down. Which means abandoning your lovely work and get to my own. In the past, I have not minded this, but your books are to good to not pay attention to. And so I abandon my own, because I have to know what happens to Kate, or Tully. To Jolene and Michael. Or to whichever character I am at the moment invested in. I  can't just not know.

I am pretty sure you knew this to.

And so I applaud you Ms. Hannah. Because while I may hate that you are as brilliant as you are. I love you for that very same reason. My only hope is that one day, I will be able to thank you in my liner notes.

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