How many times have you read a story and have it leave you with endless, nagging questions when it finished? Too many times to count, for me. (I am always amazed at literature's ability to completely engage and transport me - I live in the character's skins, I feel their emotions as keenly as though they were my own - because this rarely happens for me with movies).
When people ask the question, "Who would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive, if you could choose absolutely anyone" my list would be mostly literary (mind you, I would invite Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans for laughs, and Tom Hiddleston and Jared Leto for eye-candy and controversy). I would love to have a conversation with Jane Austen about our shared penchant for writing strong women who always get their happy ending. I'd thank Charlotte Bronte for writing my favourite literary heroine of all time, and for writing a story that is pretty real (as far as novels go). I want to ask Stephenie Meyer whether Renesmee and Jacob are able to have kids. I want to know whether St John Rivers ever gets married after Jane Eyre rejects his proposal.
The fan fiction literary world evokes pretty much the same feelings and questions.
I came across a particular writer, who had a few couples she always wrote about, one of them being my favourite as well. I love EVERYTHING she writes. And then about two years ago, she disappeared...and left my favourite story incomplete. I read the story every so often, and each time my longing to know how things end would just grow, this perpetual itch in my head and heart that I couldn't scratch (and might never be able to). I even thought about continuing the story myself, just for myself. But that would be intellectual theft and even if I could relax my conscience, I'm nowhere near as good with words as she is. I was preparing to die with this itch.
And then a few weeks ago, I come across her name again and discover that she has kind of resurfaced. On a lark, I commented on one her recent stories to express my elation at her return. To my astonishment, she not only responded to my comment, we basically had a whole conversation (this is the one thing the internet is good for - it enables us to connect with people that inspire us and make us happy), and then she went and did something even more amazing... She scratched my itch and got rid of it completely.
There are no words to appropriately express what I am still feeling after your email. You literally made my dream come true. And I completely understand your reasons for not wanting to go back to your old work - I mean, you did not have to do this for a complete stranger, and the fact that you did this for me...only by reaching into my chest and feeling my heart might be able to convey the extent of my happiness.
As a fellow writer, I know there are days where you feel like you are a complete failure at your craft. When those days hit, I hope you will come back here and read this again, to encourage you to push through those moments and to remind yourself that you have an extraordinary skill with words and that you have, at the very least, one loyal reader, who is looking forward (with bated breath and the greatest of anticipation) to what you produce next.