A Thank You Letter To The Author Who Inspired Me To Write

Dear Mr. Roald Dahl,

Before I begin – thank you.

You’re probably not shocked that I’m writing to you. I don’t mean that you just assume that you will get letters from fans, though. What I mean is that you’re probably not shocked because you don’t know me. You don’t know about my love of another author. Almost everyone who knows me knows that I love the Harry Potter series and they were probably expecting me to write to J.K. Rowling. And she is an awesome lady. But I have loved your books far longer than I have loved hers. I mean, she even owes something to you – did you know that a review of Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone was compared to your books?

Alas, ten years or so have passed since I first read your books, so I cannot remember which one I read first. Maybe I didn’t read the first one; my mom might have read it aloud to me. I think the first one was Matilda, but it might have been James and the Giant Peach. Or maybe it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oh, I don’t know. Does it really even matter? What matters is that I loved your books as soon as I read them.

I loved the characters. I felt weird in kindergarten because I could already read; most of the other kids couldn’t yet. I appreciated that Matilda was also smart for her age, that her intelligence saved the day, and that her peers admired her. (Sadly, my classmates did not feel the same way. My parents tell me that other kids made fun of me because I was advanced for my age.) I loved the thrill of terror I got when I read about parents like Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood or relatives-turned-guardians like the Aunts Sponge and Spiker. Even if I occasionally got mad at my parents, at least they weren’t stupid, television-obsessed crooks or spiteful slave drivers. (Well, maybe the second isn’t quite true… I’m just kidding, Mom and Dad!) But for a while, I could feel as frustrated and scared as Matilda and James did. That was the first time I realized just how much fun it can be to step into the shoes of a character and experience their life.

I loved your creativity. When you wanted to express something in The BFG and there wasn’t a word for it, you just made one up. Your characters are so zany; Willy Wonka is only one example. I loved your wordplay. The “square candies that look round” still make me laugh. So do all the BFG’s malapropisms.

I loved the mood of your books. You have a wonderful way of knowing how to balance the light, humorous, and playful with the dark, serious, and moody. That’s another thing that Rowling owes you – people who know me may have heard me blathering on about how she balances light and dark. I think the mood in both your books and hers shows the mood of life itself. One minute life is a grin; the next, a frown. We couldn’t appreciate the light if we didn’t have the dark. I have not found any other authors who balance the two quite so well, making me laugh until I cry on one page and grieve until I cry on the next. When I read Boy, the autobiography of your childhood, I understood why your sense of humor was sometimes dark. You didn’t have the greatest childhood. And you lost a child. And you almost lost another.

I don’t really remember feeling sad when I was little. But I can still remember deciding to write a letter to you because I loved your books so much. I couldn’t have been more than six or seven. I flipped to the back cover of Boy – yes, I still know which book I was reading when I found out – where the author biography was. I wanted to see where you lived now so that I would know where to send my letter. And that was when I saw that you’d died in 1990, six years before I was even born. I suppose I should have expected it; you were born in 1916, after all. But I can still remember feeling the sense of crushing disappointment that I couldn’t write to you. And now I am writing to you. I know that you won’t get my letter in the real world and I don’t believe in heaven. From what I’ve read, you weren’t so sure if you believed in it either. Anyway, I’d like to think that you’re in Giant Country after the bad giants have been defeated, collecting dreams with the BFG. I’d like to think that, somehow, you’ll get my letter.

Before I end – thank you.

Sincerely,

nevillegirl

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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15 Responses to A Thank You Letter To The Author Who Inspired Me To Write

  1. This letter holds so much meaning for me, and I completely agree with you – Roald Dahl was the man who started it all for me, the man who helped me find my love for writing. He didn’t just inspire me to write either; his books were what made me realise reading could actually be enjoyable, and they were the reason I started to really accept the English language. Before I came across Roald Dahl books, I was – surprisingly – against using English. I refused to read English books, refused to speak the language, because I thought it was an insult to my mother tongue (I know, what a strange thing for a kid to think, right?). Then one day my mum borrowed one of Dahl’s books for me from my school library, and I remember that book to this day. Matilda was the first chapter book I’d read in my life, and I still remember how captivated I was by it. Unlike any other books I’d read before, I could relate myself to Matilda, and imagine myself in her situation. Once I finished the book, I never stopped reading. Even now, I still go back and read his books from time to time, and when I do I always get this feeling of nostalgia, because they bring back so many childhood memories. Roald Dahl was truly a genius, and I know there are many others out there who probably feel the same way, and were also inspired by his powerful words.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks! 😀 😀

      What language is your first?

      • French :D. I’m not as fluent in it anymore though, because I use English so often, so I’ve pretty much forgotten most of my French :c. It’s a pity, really; French is such a beautiful and romantic language ^^. Then again, I managed to acquire some Japanese from my dad’s side… So at least I’m not completely hopeless at languages. xD. What about you?

        • nevillegirl says:

          English. 😀 But I’ve been learning Spanish since I was in about 4th grade, which means I’ve been learning a foreign language for around twice as long as most kids in public school. Which is kinda cool. And some day I want to learn… let’s see… French, Latin, Classical Greek, Arabic, Russian, etc. xD Chinese and Japanese would be fun to learn, but there’s so much memorization required for all the characters… O_o

          • Wow, you must be pretty fluent in Spanish then :D. I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish – I think it’s just as beautiful as French, and even gentler ^^. To be honest, I think all languages based off Latin are beautiful. They just have that softness to them, and the way the words blend into each other… It’s like music :]. It’ll be cool if you manage to learn all the languages you’re interested in hehe. It’ll probably be easier if you learn Latin first though, as having some background on knowledge on Latin makes languages like French and Spanish easier to grasp. Chinese and Japanese ARE pretty fun, but you’re right, the number of characters is just… Terrifying. Every word has it’s own character, and none of them are the same… So you need to have a huge word bank before you can actually understand anything O_O”. I kind of know how to read and write both (by read and write, I mean Primary school level hehe…) languages, because Chinese and Japanese are similar. But Japanese has many different written forms, and I only know Kanji.. Soo yeah, I probably won’t be writing any Japanese novels anytime soon >///<

            • nevillegirl says:

              Erm… haha, not fluent, but on the other hand, I think I have a huge advantage over the other students (some of them like 30 years older than i! O_O) in my college Spanish class. I already know how to figure out gender and all that Romance-language nonsense. xD

              French was just so… well… in Spanish, you pronounce almost all the letters. In French there’s so many that are written but not pronounced; it drove me insane.

              Yeah, that was my thinking with Latin… also because it’s a dead language there’s no specific way to pronounce words. ^_^

              Doesn’t Japanese have like 3 alphabets? Or whatever you’d call them? Like Kanji and Hirigana and something else I’m forgetting? I guess I think that it’s kind of ridiculous to have an alphabet in order to explain what you mean by another alphabet. xD But it would still be cool to learn.

              Actually, with Chinese, I’d rather learn to read it than speak it. Because even if one guy speaks Cantonese and another speaks Hakkan, they can still read each other’s writing. Or so a little book told me. 😛

              • Woah, 30 years older? o_o yep, I’m pretty sure you have a huge advantage over them… It’s easier to learn new languages when you’re young. Unless you’re me, in which case it’s easier to learn languages when never. xD. I agree with you on the French thing though… It drove me insane too, which is probably why I’m not so good at it. My mum’s hoping I’ll improve after frequent visits to France, and by being in her French presence haha. Problem is, my dad wants me to be in HIS Japanese presence, so I end up mixing the two languages, and sticking with English because it’s safer. Is it easy to learn Latin where you live? Where I live, it’s nearly impossible to find places that teach Latin ._. because it’s a dead language, no one wants to learn it… So the only way is to attend church courses ><". Yep, there are 3 alphabets in Japanese. It is VERY silly and I don't approve at all. Sadly I'm no one important in Japan, so my approval does not matter. I rebel by only learning one alphabet. It drives my dad nuts, because apparently you "cannot function in Japanese society by only knowing the basics of Kanji", but alas, my brain can only hold so much information… The rest of it is full of useless stuff like my favourite quotes or song lyrics xDD. Oooh, I never knew Hakkan and Cantonese share the same written language… That's interesting. Then again, I'd still prefer to learn to speak it, because I know I can't survive without the power of speech XD.

                • nevillegirl says:

                  Yeah. It’s a community college and so there’s a lot of students in their 20s, definitely, but also a few around my parents’ age.

                  Uh… not really? xD I suppose maybe I could have found a tutor. I think the high school may teach Latin, but they don’t like homeschoolers. Even though we, you know, pay taxes that go to support the school system. 😛 I tried to learn on my own and it didn’t really work…

                  For some reason I thought you lived in the UK… xD

                  • I used to be homeschooled… And yeah, unfortunately not many approve of the idea. I still don’t understand why though; is it really such a crime for someone to learn in a flexible environment? Learning Latin on your own must have been tough though o_o Haha, your guess was pretty accurate actually – I DID live in the UK for quite some time xD. That’s where I went for Secondary school, actually :]. I’m not living there anymore though :c. I moved once I started University xDD.

  2. Liam, Head Phil says:

    Oi! You won a guest post on my blog for being the 4000th commenter. Accept if you wish, or spit in my face– I mind not which. I would urge you to accept, however– and that means not spitting in my face.

  3. Alex says:

    Roald Dahl inspires me as well. My favorite story was “The Witches.” It terrified me, but I sort of liked that. The descriptions of the witches, with their masked faces, and no-toed feet, were so vivid. I became wary of all strangers. Thanks for your post.

    Best,
    Alex

  4. Pingback: Mr. Men Purple Hat (And Other Search Terms) | Musings From Neville's Navel

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