“Lisa, Bright and Dark” was published more than forty years ago. It is still in print and still sells. Sometimes we forget, after all those years, what we intended and what we wanted from a particular story. Then, without warning, “Fan Mail.” Compare this to a teacher who sends her students out into the world, hoping for the best. Too often he or she will never know how that student succeeded or how well. And then, just as suddenly, he or she hears. The surprise, joy, and delight of what we do rushes back at us and revives our drive and intention. And it certainly makes us feel good. See below, received only days ago.
From: “L. P.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Lisa, Bright and Dark
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 7:47 PM
Dear Mr. Neufeld,
My name is L. P., and I wanted to tell you how much I love
“Lisa, Bright and Dark”. I first read it when I was 10 or 11, and I
think I wore out the library copy from checking it out so many times.
In fact, once I read your book, I started borrowing copies of books on
schizophrenia and bipolar illness (manic-depression at the time),
despite getting all sorts of strange looks from the librarians! I was
so fascinated by mental illness that I even chose Psychiatry as the
subject of my 6th grade career report.
It’s now many years later, and I’m so happy to be working as a
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner treating patients just like Lisa. I
feel like everything has come full circle, and I have you to thank for
sparking my interest in mental illness and psychiatry! It’s a career
I truly love and about which I am so passionate; I only hope everyone
is lucky enough to love their job as much as I love mine.
But I also have a request! When I finished my Master’s in Nursing, my
mom presented me with a first edition of “Lisa, Bright and Dark”, a
gift that was more special than words can describe. I was wondering
if you would mind signing my copy if I sent it to you? I cannot tell
you how much that would mean to me; of all the books I have ever read,
yours is the one that changed my life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email! I hope it
finds you well, and I look forward to hearing from you!
p.s. – “Twink” was another one of my favorites!