One of the joys of having books published in this age of instant communication is hearing from readers.  In the last seven years I’ve heard from hundreds (dare I say “more than a thousand”), but every now and then one comes along that stops me in my tracks. Consider this one.

Dear Mr. Vawter:

May I take a moment of your time. 

Last fall, I accompanied my daughter to Memphis for a YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) conference.  She is a librarian for teens in Salt Lake City.  I simply wanted to see Memphis and Graceland, so I tagged along.

My daughter attended a session in which you spoke and offered COPYBOY to those in attendance.  Because many received your book already, your line at the author signing was relatively short, so I went to your line.  You were very gracious; and I was happy to receive an autographed copy of COPYBOY.

I am not a reader at all, in fact I have always disliked reading.  About a year ago, my daughter suggested that I read to pass the time when I exercise indoors, or when I am waiting in some line like at a doctor’s office, or while I am waiting for my court cases to be called.  I took her up on this suggestion, and I have now read numerous books.  

The other day, I finally picked up COPYBOY and decided to read it.  Today, I finished it.  

I feel compelled to let you know how I feel at the moment.  COPYBOY is astounding, the deep meanings profound, the life’s lessons invaluable.  I have shared your story with my daughter (who assures me she will read COPYBOY next and order copies for the library) and with my other family members and many work colleagues.  The powerful messages within its covers, I thank you.  I thank you for being an excellent writer; your story is easy to read and grasp.  Your pages kept me spellbound.  I find myself often thinking about COPYBOY throughout the day.  I have laughed out loud and cried while reading and retelling your story, and I am grateful for your skill in putting together a powerful story that rings true with rich meaning and messages.  COPYBOY is an award-winning book.

I intend to go back and read “The Old Man and the Sea.”  But first, I am slated to go backwards and read PAPERBOY, of which I now have a copy.

Thank you most sincerely for introducing me to Victor Vollmer and Philomene Moreau, and the late Mr. Spiro.  I wish I could meet them in person. 🙂  

And thank you for reminding me what is truly important in life.  

Please keep writing.  

The writer of this email (I have permission to use her name) is Judith L.C. Ledkins, an attorney in Salt Lake City. She shared a little about herself here:

I’ve been practicing law for 35 years.  I’ve worked in the judiciary as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah.  I’ve served as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and family law attorney.  Additionally, I worked several years in Salt Lake’s largest law firm in the areas of banking, commercial litigation, and bankruptcy law.  I’ve taught Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Business Law courses, and I even taught high school for a couple years before going on to law school.  Through all this, I’d admit that “Copyboy” is my favorite read.  

When I received Ms. Ledkins email, I shared it with my agent and then my editor, with this preamble:

When the endeavor we find ourselves in is not going to suit us, when we are frustrated, when the words won’t come like they should, take this note out of your files, read it and be assured it is all worth the effort. 

That’s exactly what I plan on doing myself. Thank you, Judith.

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