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Dear Mr. Keillor, A question

August 7, 2006 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
A question about etiquette toward writers. My best friend from grade school is an up-and-coming writer/illustator of young adult graphic novels. She's published two full-length works and has contributed to several anthologies. I own the two books by her, and I love them. She's coming to visit me this fall for the first time in seven years. I don't want to look like a groupie/stalker if I have everything she's ever written and some of her original artwork framed on my walls. On the other hand, if I don't have everything, I'm worried that she'll be offended, and think (incorrectly!) that I don't care for her work or don't follow her successes. Please help! What is the proper etiquette when your friend is a semi-prolific writer?


She's coming to see you and reminisce about old times, Marcella, not to gauge your interest in her work. Of course she'll be charmed to see that you've read her work and that's that. Tell her you love what she does and since that's the truth, there's no reason to worry about it. Writers aren't sensitive about this, at least professional writers aren't: we don't go into our friends' homes and scan the bookshelves for our tomes. We don't troll for compliments. We do our work, we hope for readers, we hope the work is good enough, and we move on. Enjoy the visit.

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