November 20, 2012

Writing a Few Thank You Notes

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director

Recently a friend and I were reminiscing about people who've made a difference in our lives over the years. As you might expect, the impromptu list included the occasional teacher, mentor, and other key figures who crossed our paths long enough to leave a lasting impression.  This led to my childhood recollection of a DJ whom my cousins and I used to call frequently to request songs on the station's Dedication Line (this was back in the days when radio stations actually took requests).

One day "Van", as he was known, invited me and my cousins to take a tour of the studio, and we jumped at the opportunity.  We were going to meet a real live radio personality at an actual radio station; how cool!  And indeed, we enjoyed a memorable half hour or so with our favorite disc jockey, getting a behind-the-scenes look at broadcasting and the music industry.  Somewhere I still have the photograph of Van I took with my Polaroid Swinger camera.  I didn't know it that day, but I would soon embark on a long and satisfying career of my own in broadcasting, and, looking back, I have to credit Van for pointing me in the right direction.

As my friend and I were remembering these key figures in our lives, it dawned on me that these people will never know how important they were to someone else's life unless we tell them.  Sadly, most of my mentors have passed away, but I vowed that day to track Van down, to let him know that his kindness so many years ago to a trio of star-struck kids made a huge difference in at least one of their lives.

Through the magic of the internet, I discovered that he has since become a lawyer in New England.  Last week I sent him an email to tell him what I've just told you, and to say thanks.  That same day he sent back a very nice letter, including this line: "! remember your visit to the studios, and thinking that all three of you were a little bit weird, but very nice."   (Van apparently has us confused with three other people.)  In any event, it made for a fulfilling, full-circle exchange that I was glad I chose to initiate.

Nowadays I'm just as grateful for the many authors and other publishing friends who share their experience and insights with us and our readers.  They graciously invite us in for a behind-the-scenes look at their world, and countless writers benefit from their wisdom.

I'm also grateful for my fellow SW staffers, whose enthusiasm and talent make every day a fun and creative adventure. From the writers to the proofreaders, our den mother, Susan Reichert, somehow keeps us all in line and occasionally provides coffee.

Finally, thank YOU for reading the magazine, following the blog, listening to the radio show, participating in our author venues, and especially for the positive feedback you continue to give us.  We're committed to giving you what you like, and because you tell us what that is, we're better equipped to give you something we hope you'll be grateful for too.

Maybe you'll get a chance this week to tell someone how important they've been to you and your writing.  Wherever you'll be on Thursday, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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