I just read this amazing post from Alison Byrne who had the late John Hughes as her pen pal in her teens. How cool was that?
The fact that Alison sat down one day and wrote a letter to John Hughes because she found his movies so meaningful and he actually wrote back is incredible. I recall years ago reading Insomnia by Stephen King and feeling compelled to actually mail him a letter telling him about a really funny experience while reading his book:
We were living on Malden Street in Worcester at the time in a two-bedroom condo. I remember just being deeply engrossed in reading Insomnia. In particular, there was a part of the book where the main character walks into his kitchen and notices that the magnetic alphabet letters on his fridge actually spelled out something really, really scary. I was so creeped out with this imagery that I had to get up from the bed where I was reading the book and step away to the kitchen for a little breath of fresh air. Just as I was opening up the bedroom door, Spencer was standing a little off to the side and called out “BOO!” I freaked out. I must have jumped ten feet into the air and crashed back against the door.
We laughed and laughed at my crazy reaction to his simple little “BOO”, but I can’t recall a time that I was so engrossed in a story that it affected me that much. So I decided to write a fan letter to Stephen King telling him all about my little incident coming out of the bedroom.
I never heard back from him. Never even got the obligatory note from his publisher or one of his personal assistants thanking me for writing. I wasn’t that bothered about it. Really, how could I be? Who did I think I was that Stephen King would write back to me telling me how meaningful my letter was to him because after all, he writes those scary stories for plain folk just like me.
But after reading this post about the eventual blossoming pen-pal relationship that Alison Byrne had with John Hughes, it made me realize that sometimes it’s not important to get a letter back from someone you really admire. Really it’s the chance to have that someone or something in your life mean so much that you put yourself out there without any expectations other than wanting that person to know how he or she affected some aspect of your life.
If I were to write a fan letter to John Hughes, I probably would have thanked him for creating the character Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles and creating Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That movie holds a special place in my heart because I just loved the concept of Ferris talking to little old insignificant me while he was taking a shower.
So take a moment and read the blog post from Alison. It’s a fine example of how sharing a part of yourself with a complete stranger can impact your life and all it took was a pen, some paper and a stamp.
Rest In Peace John Hughes
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