From our hearts to yours - Happy Valentine's Day, Twific Fandom.
This is both a love letter and a heartfelt note of apology. I like to fancy myself both your best and probably your worst fan.
Ask me what I am reading at any given moment and in the top two will be, “Whatever story Counselor is writing right now.” Ask me my favorite fanfiction author and the answer is Counselor. Ask me which authors make it into my top five favorites of all time, and I will answer you, truthfully, “Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Harper Lee, Counselor, and Leif Enger.”
I am known for showing up in the Facebook group for your fics and making long, rambling comments on the raw honesty of your prose, the mirror you hold up to both our strongest and our lowest selves in the characters you write, and generally lamenting the fact that I cannot hope to compare, ever, though I am so happy to get every update despite the feelings of inadequacy and awe they usually inspire.
I am, however, a terrible reviewer. I’m trying to do better about giving you well-deserved feedback. I know that the thousands of reviews you receive are a treasure to you because you often say so, and somewhat like my grandmother, I do not think you would ever lie to me, or to any of your other readers. I tend to forget you have other readers, though. I feel like you write just for me. This is a mark of the best, I think, this ability to make us forget that a story is between anyone but ourselves and the pages that hold it.
That’s where this whole love letter gets a bit awkward and perhaps a bit fan club-idol scary. I can count the times we have interacted via the interwebs on one hand. You, like the effortlessly wonderful Ms. Lee, like to keep your private self, well, private. I respect that. I can’t help, as I read your stories of love and hope and heartache and redemption and flawed, beautiful humanity, wanting to really know you. I wish I could invite you out to my house in the hills of Tennessee and offer you some iced tea and a slice of hummingbird cake so that I might sit at your knee and soak up some of that ability you have to see so much. You must notice everything. From the shoelaces of a girl in the ’60s to the heartache of loving a man who may father someone else’s children, to the way an old man’s story was once a young man’s life, you notice, and like a machine, you somehow churn this out to us in wisdom and sex and blood and words.
I think, as usual, you said it best:
This was my home. And all of those who had met inside of me, laying down their stories, laying down their brokenness and their love, they were the thunder in my heart. And now…in this life…for my time on this earth…I was theirs.
Wherever you may make your mark, whatever may come, I see you as mine, Counselor, as do so many in this fandom that are blessed by your words. You’re our thunder, and we’re so lucky to “know” you this way.