I met Diane through her writing. She'd written a beautiful children's tale called Little Bad Blue, and I'd had the pleasure of being asked to comment. I made my suggestions and the discourse that followed has become that simplest of life's pleasures: conversation. Ours is warm, varied, far-reaching and ongoing.
Diane lives in Mississippi, US. It's a place I've never been to, though hope to visit one day. It's also a long way from Manchester, UK. As such Diane and I have never met in person. Instead we are 'penfriends' of the email and Skype variety.
Sincerity easily overcomes distance, however, as does the postal service; and it was these two things combined that prompted me to send Diane a copy of my first published book, The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone.
Diane has a daughter, Jeannettte, who is currently battling cancer. I'd hoped, when sending the book, that it would in some small way add to the inspiration for Jeannette and her family to overcome the obstacles they are facing.
When I received a card from Diane, I was deeply moved to find it expressed not only her thanks but also her recognition that there was something more to be gained from the book than just the story. It made me wonder just what a gift it is that a writer holds in their hands?
Diane is one of the most open people I know, so it was no surprise to me that she agreed to let me share her message here....
Thank you for the tender inscription in Brin & Bent and Minno which has arrived and been experienced and discussed at length by Jim and me.
We are new to this genre, but definitely feel its strong emotional impact. Though subjective and metaphorical, it has layers of mystery that hold attraction for anyone who is striving to move forward from trauma. There may not be the language for the identity it engenders, but its power is felt. The music and dance will convey what words cannot.
I feel that the angel on your left shoulder is your mother, and that the ghost on your right is your dear brother. As we have discussed, they are always with you. Here on Earth, you bring your gifts to others through the depths of your expressions.
I'm so happy we met, and I'll follow you with great admiration for what you have created in your life.
We continue to help Jeannette through this terrible year, with hope for her happiness ahead.
I'm thinking your daughter is with you at last!