Urban Waite is a Virginia Stanley fave, so it's exciting to have him guest blog. His latest book (on sale today!), Sometimes the Wolf, is a story of family, violence, and unintended consequences, and much like his last novel, The Carrion Birds, the writing is fantastic. Welcome, Urban!
I’m a horrible, no-good, devil of a person when it comes to writing Christmas thank you cards. I mean well. I swear I do. I intended to write that thank you letter, I just haven’t. This is an open letter to my aunt Lissa, former librarian, former bookstore owner, and book lover then and now. I’m sorry I didn’t write you a card last January. I should have.
I got into this writing thing through reading. I pieced my time together, always reading first and then writing after. And to tell you the truth, I was pretty lonely doing it. I love books. I always have. My parents once grounded me for a summer and part of the punishment was reading ten books and doing ten book reports. It turned out to be a pretty good summer, but I didn’t brag about it then like I should have.
The only problem with loving something like a book—at least for me—is that you rarely get to talk to anyone about it. This is where you, Lissa, come in. Last Christmas you asked for a stack of books—dog-eared, smelly, underlined, used or new—it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that I loved them. I wrapped up some Andrew Vachss, a little Woodrell, Tatjana Soli’s first novel, Jennine Capó Crucet’s collection, and a memoir by Justin St. Germain. You read them and more than that you wanted to talk to me about them. And for that I’m the one who needs to tell you, thank you.
It took me a while to figure it out, but out there in the world are libraries, and in those libraries are librarians. And those librarians are people just like me—people who love books. People who want to talk about books and who on any given day will be there to have a conversation with you on the books they love, and that is a very good thing.
So thank you to my aunt Lissa, and thank you to all the librarians out there. Thank you for being there to talk to shy, book-loving kids like me, who don’t brag enough about how wonderful being grounded with a reading list was.