It was no ordinary piece of mail addressed to me at the office …
Like so many other professions, being a journalist is a thankless job.
Luckily, for the most part (and for most of us), a “thank you” isn’t something we expect, ever. And, for that matter, it’s not what we set out to get. We just want to write.
So when we get a “thank you,” be it an e-mail, a phone call or that ever-elusive notecard, they stand out. And we talk about them, keep them in a folder in our in-box, a special drawer, our memory to refer back to on days when we’re annoyed, hating the world, the source that’s not calling, the lead that refuses to be written … we keep them because they mean something.
Last week, I got a “thank you” that I know I will refer back to – often.
It came from Stitch the bookbinder, a fascinating free-spirit who is the artist in residence at a local art gallery here in Northeastern Pennsylvania before he heads back to upstate New York for a Renaissance festival this summer.
From folding the 100-percent cotton paper to the final flourish in his signature when he dates, numbers and signs them, Stitch makes books by hand. Blank books with hand-stretched leather, fabric or carved-wood covers, blank because “lines inhibit creativity.”
I spent a morning talking to Stitch as he worked, explaining his craft, his life, his passion – and it was one of the most amazing interviews I’ve ever had, the kind that stays with you long after you stop the recorder.
Read the article here.
A few days after the story ran, I got The Letter. It was hand delivered to the office and mixed in with some of my regular junk mail, but it stood out.
Cream-colored parchment paper, my name written with flair in green ink. I’d find out soon enough that it was written with a quill pen – which Stitch told me “makes for better penmanship because you have to take your time” – and sealed with a tree stamped in green wax.
I felt a bit like Guinevere, I admit.
“Dear Nikki,” it began,
Thank you for the article “A ‘Stitch’ in time’ in the April 4th Weekender.
That was the best, most accurate and complete interview I have ever had!
The title and mention of the book #9000 “A Stitch in Time” inspired me to bring it to the gallery. I do hope you will be able to stop by to see it.
Again, thank you. May your quill never run dry.
(writ with quill & ink by mine own hand)”
How magical and inspirational is that?
“May your quill never run dry.”
Lord, I hope it never does.