Sorry this one is late- I haven’t been feeling very well. Also, I thought I’d try a different kind of letter, as one of my favorite authors passed away this weekend.
Dear Diana Wynne Jones,
I am sorry that this letter never got to you before you passed away, but I thought I’d write it down anyway. I first heard about you from a friend who strongly recommended you, but I didn’t have the chance to look you up. My partner bought me one of your books, Howl’s Moving Castle, and it sat in my bookshelf, unread, because I had seen the movie and thought it would be the same. Clearly the universe was trying to tell me something, and I wasn’t listening, and I’m sorry I didn’t listen earlier.
When I did read the book, it was at the urging of my partner, because he had read it first, and insisted that it was nothing like the movie, and that it was even better. When I went on the train to visit my parents during the holidays, I made sure that it was the only book I carried in my bag. So I read…and I read some more. Time passed rather comfortably. Sunshine streamed through the train window, and I was lost in your magical and fantastic world, feeling warm and content. I felt like a kid again, looking around in wonderment and feeling quite happy. I was completely and utterly enchanted by Howl’s Moving Castle and for some reason, the world around me seemed better. It’s very rare that a book has this power, and I eagerly read rest of the books in the Howl series: Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways, and I have to say the last one is my favorite. There’s a scene in which you tap the table and food appears, but you have to say the specific word or else you just get separate ingredients. Although I do recall that if you tap the table and say tea, there will always be a perfect pot of tea with scones or biscuits.
After that, I think you were responsible for my young adult literature addiction, because not only had you left behind a long list of works, you had also influenced generations of writers, such as JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Megan Whalen Turner, Robin McKinley, and countless others whose books I have yet to read. It’s always a thrill to open one of these books, and find a dedication to you, and how you’ve inspired them to be writers. Also, I absolutely loved the way you handled animals in your books- they were always a big part of the novel but they were never the fluffy, floozy kind. They had a certain kind of sass and were always happy to keep you in your place (okay, they remind me a lot of my dog) and of course, saved the day.
I’m going to miss you if only because there won’t be any more delightful stories from you, but I’m also looking forward to tracking down your older works and rediscovering you every time. Thank you for writing all these books and for making my world just a bit more magical. Rest in peace.