I do have male readers; I know this, because some of them write to me. The letters page over on the main website contains some of those letters. However, I would guess that the proportion of female: male letters is pretty skewed toward the female, maybe 100:1. That’s why it’s very strange that I should get two emails from male readers in one day. Even more strange, they both are asking for something. Joe wants a signed photo:
I just thought I would write you an email telling you how much a fan I am of yours. I think you are one of the greatest authors I have ever seen. I read everything you write and whenever there is an article about you I always read it and save a copy of it. You are truly talented and one day I hope to be as good as an author as you. Keep up the great work and I hope to read many more of your writings in the future.
If you don’t mind I would love to have an autographed picture of you to hang on my wall. I would really appreciate it.
While Billy is more straight forward:
can i have your autograph? well if i can my address is…………
Hmmmm. I suppose this is as good a time as any to first, thank male readers who take the time to write. It’s hard to reach out like that. It’s hard for me too. I have written now and then to authors when a book has really influenced me (I had a nice little correspondence going for a while with Mark Helprin about his incomprable A Soldier of the Great War, for example). You sit down and try to say the right thing and you send it off, and most of the time you never know if it got where it was supposed to be going. Which is just fine, really, with me. I hope the authors and performers I’ve written to get the message I’m trying to send, which is a simple: I’m listening, I hear you, thank you. But I have to let it go, because there’s nothing really I can do but put the thoughts out there in the world. Then again, if I’m writing to a male, I worry that somehow he’ll think I’m yet another adoring female. Which I may be, but my adoration is well within appropriate limits. I always have the urge to add a PS: I’m happily married, in case you were thinking I might be contemplating a remake of Fatal Attraction.
So back to Joe, who has this idea that I might have autographed photos lying around, and to Billy, who will do without the photo. Why is Elvis Presley suddenly singing backup here?
So this is what I’ll do: I’ll write to them, or I’ll ask the wonderful webgenie Rachel to write to them to say thanks for the email, but sorry, I can’t send out autographs, and I don’t allow cameras within two hundred feet.
At one point I did have a PO box, and people sent me envelopes, self addressed, stamped, and I sent back an autographed bookplate. But it got out of hand, and I was thinking that I’d have to hire somebody to help, and that felt like more than I could handle, so I stopped.
But now I’m wondering if I should try to set something up again. Maybe I’ll do a poll. Yes, I will. Do you think Billy and Joe are legit? Would you want a way to get things autographed? Look for the new poll coming up soon. Or just post a comment here. What could it hurt?