Today I received an elegant and gracious letter from a woman who had recently read Run Like a Girl. Each time I receive a missive like this, I am moved anew. Selfishly, I wrote a book because I am a writer and I love writing, the very act grants me inordinate amounts of joy. Yet, what started as this selfish act has yielded me a more profound result than ever I anticipated. Some of you, who have read the book, have been inspired or moved to reach higher, and discovered that you could. For the opportunity to participate in the tiniest way in that discovery, I am grateful down to my bones.
I’ll leave it to Yann Martel to say better what I am fumbling to express. As Martel wrote in Beatrice and Virgil (italicized explanatory note is mine), “Henry (the protagonist) had written a novel because there was a hole in him that needed filling, a question that needed answering, a patch of canvas that needed painting—that blend of anxiety, curiosity and joy that is at the origin of art—and he had filled the hole, answered the question, splashed colour on the canvas, all done for himself, because he had to. Then complete strangers told him that his book had filled a hole in them, had answered a question, had brought colour to their lives. The comfort of strangers, be it a smile, a pat on the shoulder or a word of praise, is truly a comfort.”