Parked bicycle at train station

Each day I read the e-mails you send us about how you experience the work we do here. Some days, when the inbox is flooded with generic promotional materials for authors who have published books like The Bad Breath Bible, it can feel a chore. More often, however, I am inspired by the very personal messages you send about this program (both its finest points and its flaws).

The e-mails that include moving personal stories, or that articulate the value of the show in a way none of us ever could, shoot around our inboxes with messages attached like, “Nice reflection on something we’ve been thinking about,” or “So good to get this now,” on a day when things aren’t going so hot.

The point is, having the chance to read your e-mails has completely changed my attitude toward making contact with the people who produce the content of our culture. I’ve learned that authors aren’t as far removed as they feel when I hold their books in my hands. Musicians want to know how people respond to their work. Artists are looking for signs of the impact they have. Any chef is grateful if you send word to the kitchen that you particularly enjoyed something she made.

Because you taught me this, I recently wrote to one of my favorite authors (who lately became a staff writer at The New Yorker) to say how much she has impacted my life, how grateful I am for her work, and congratulations on her latest achievement. Within hours, she wrote me back to say I made her day.

So thanks for all your thanks. Your messages have taught me in a new way that showing gratitude matters, that it can inspire work and create joy. I look forward each day to knowing what you think.

(photo: Medico Maceti/flickr)

Share Your Reflection



I had an English teacher in high school who, as one of our assignments, made us write a letter to a living artist whose work we appreciated. He said we'd be shocked at how many of these artists, even the most famous, would write back to say that we had made their day. And he was right. He had letters his students had received posted on the wall from Donald Fagan (of Steely Dan fame) and Edie Brickell (of New Bohemians fame), among others. One of my classmates got a wonderful letter from the novelist Tom Wolfe. It was amazing to me that these glamorous strangers would care what a high school student thought, but they did. Or at least some of them did. For some reason, I chose to write my letter to the rapper Ice-T. He never got back to me.

i just got a new job today
i',m very grateful
my life is about to rearange
im gonna give my new line manager some flowers tommorow
thanyou youare beautiful
with love

Giving thanks and appreciation is the most wonderful thing in this world. You just don't get tired of that, because it inspires others to work on with their life. By the way, the image is very nice.