Over the years, I have read a lot of books. I’ve read contemporaries and classics, short stories and long novels, biographies and histories, audio books and language books. I have read best-sellers and books that are out of print. I have read books in English and books in Russian.
But through it all, my favorite author has consistently been Lloyd Alexander.
Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007) was a American author of fantasy novels intended for children or young adults. I first became acquainted with his writing in the sixth grade when my class read The Book of Three, the first book in a series of five.
A few years later, I decided to read the rest of the books in the series and I fell in love with them. I’ve especially enjoyed the audio books (read by James Langton) and I believe I’ve listened to them at least once every year when I work on my garden.
While I was in high school, I wrote to Lloyd Alexander. It was part of a project in my creative writing class and I really didn’t intend anything to come of it, but almost two years later I got a response from Lloyd Alexander. I was amazed. I didn’t think that he would write back but he did.
If you look at the letter, you can tell that it was written on an old typewriter. I later learned that Lloyd Alexander would write to many of his fans, waking up at three in the morning to write and in the afternoon he would walk his letters to the post office.
Almost seven months after he wrote to me, Lloyd Alexander passed away.
I count that letter as a tender mercy. I’ve lately been reflecting on the legacy of Lloyd Alexander during these past few days as I have been working on my own book(s). I certainly know that his writing has helped to influence not only my books, but also my life.
I hope that one day my writing will be as influential to someone as his writing has been to me.