A fan letter to Janny Wurts

originally posted by Melanie Trumbull

Some years ago I wandered into my local library and spotted, out of the blue, a paperback copy of Initiate's Trial in circulation. Drawn by its cover art, I looked for the first time into the world-building of The Wars of Light and Shadow, and for the first time read your name.

And I am wondering how to tell you how much you and your writing mean to me.

Superlatives are not the means to this end. I'm just too old, I guess, and have spent too many years reading too many authors, to trust superlatives here. A couple of sentences in this fan letter, using negatives, could eliminate some ambiguity. It isn't that I wish I could write the way you write – how you would laugh, if you could see the look on my face at the very IDEA of writing in the style of WOLAS. No, it isn't that I want to imitate you, do as you do, be just like you.

I return to your WOLAS series again and again, regardless of the fact that sometimes I want to take any given installment of the series and hurl it through the nearest window. And I return to your chat boards again and again, regardless of the fact that I would rather die than sail a sailboat, that I'm scared to death of horses, and that I can't imagine persevering in the writing business within the corporate tyranny of publishing today.

Regardless of all of the preceding, you are one of my real-world heroes. You go where I fear to tread, and when something trips you up, you get up and keep on going. You have lived well, risked much, done much, and loved deeply. You have been outspoken when and where I would have feared to utter a single word.

You recall to me, my beloved 19th-century author George MacDonald, who supported his family of, was it eleven children, by grinding out novel after novel that it went against the grain for him to write, and occasionally composing the fantasies which have continued to be read long after his novels disappeared. Regardless of his burning devotion to his God, MacDonald had as many questions as he had answers, and he went right on posing those questions for public view, long after he gave up preaching as a minister. He translated transcendent poetry by the German Novalis, a laborious and thankless task, knowing that hardly any of his reading public would read his translations. He fought consumption all his life only to bury four of his children before his own death. He was very much a man of his century and yet his light casts shadows long after he left us.

I'm not doing this very well, and worst of all, my attention is flagging even though there is so much else to say. My heart is willing but something else in me is weak. I'm going to wrap up this post so as not to be redundant. I thank you with all my heart for listening to all of us at the same time that you follow your own metaphorical drummer. Long may you continue to blaze your trail. You are very dear to me.

Melanie - thank you.

There are no words to express what this means to me - that you took your time to write this at this particular moment. Moments like this, and due to your generosity of spirit - I realize I am not shouting into the void.

Know that the moment you took to write has made a difference, thank you from the bottom of my heart.