My Love-Hate Relationship with Snail Mail

I adore fan mail. Ninety-five percent of it comes via email and I try to answer it right away. I used to let it pile up and then it hung around my neck like an albatross, which took all the pleasure out of receiving it. I enjoy it much more now that I get back to the writer ASAP.
Snail mail is another animal altogether. I have a snail mail address (PO Box 98543, Raleigh, NC 27624) and I check it about once a week. I get the most wonderful long letters. Often my older readers are the ones to write snail mail since they’re less likely to use computers. Their letters are a treasure to me, a little window into the lives of the people who love my books enough to write me about them. But the problem is, I put the letters in a file and weeks go by, then months and the albatross is back. About once every six months, I dig out my stationery and sit down to answer snail mail.
In the last year or so, snail mail has come increasingly from foreign readers. I get long letters in French, Czech, Finnish, etc. I can’t read them! when I get email in a foreign langauge, I use to give me at least a rudimentary translation so I can respond. But the snail mail makes me so sad. People have taken their good time to write to me and I can’t read their letters and respond appropriately.
I recently visited a friend who speaks French and who graciously took the time to translate my French fan mail for me. What a huge help! But until I meet someone who speaks Czech, Finnish, etc, those letters will have to go unanswered.
So if any of you have written me snail mail and not heard from me yet, first and foremost, thank you for writing! Second, know that your letter is in a file drawer waiting for me to find the time and discipline to respond in the way you deserve.


  1. Brenda on July 6, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    I agree about the mail. I remember when I watched for the mailman to get my letters from friends and family, purchased lovely stationary, and nice ink pens…Today, it is email and two times a year, I break down and TYPE a letter-I know!!!! and send that letter to those who don’t have email…I personalize the letters…but…
    With teaching in two schools, going to grad school, being a mom, wife, and NANA…that’s about all I can manage.
    What do I do when I absolutely have to de-stress…I read a couple of my favorite authors…just finished rereading Cee Cee…I must buy D’s books-because I reread them each year…
    Keep writing…you are the greatest!!!!!

  2. Diane Chamberlain on July 6, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    thanks for the compliment, Brenda. thanks too for commiserating with me on the agony and ecstasy of snail mail. just today, i received a letter from France–i can tell the writer loved the french version of KISS RIVER, but nothing more than that. i know she’s asked me a few questions and i don’t know how to answer her.
    what are you studying in grad school? i admire you for all you’re doing!

  3. mary on July 7, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Love your books. I also thought brokeback mt. was a sad and lovely story. My husband was a little uncomfortable with it. I think men look at thing more literally and women think about the feelings behing everything.
    Another different movie is Lake House . My friends and I enjoyed it a lot. But it is a difficult story to figure out. Not a mans movie. It is for a girls night out.
    My two friends and I have a girls night out once a month. If there is a movie we want to see we go, if not we go out to dinner instead. .
    Keep up the great writting and Love Your Website.
    a fan Mary

  4. Diane Chamberlain on July 7, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    I think you’re right about men being more uncomfortable with Brokeback Mtn (although a man actually recommended it to us, so I can’t generalize too much). I know John did not at first want to see it because of how “graphic” we’d heard it would be. He thought it was excellent, though.
    I’m interested in Lake House–don’t know too much about it. It’s a chick flick? I think I’ll sneak it into our Netflix DVD rental list when it comes out on DVD. (Hope John isn’t reading this). John’s pretty good with chick flicks, though. We watched In Her Shoes last night and both really enjoyed it. A much better movie than I’d anticipated. Three and a half lighthouses.

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