The Irish have an expression, “Flowers for the living.” Basically: You don’t have to wait for somebody to die before you say something nice about him, or her. It’s nice to be on the receiving end of the sentiment. Here’s a note I received from a reader named Kelly:
Dear Mr. Preller,
I just finished reading Six Innings and wanted to compliment you on a fine book. I am a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian, and I try to keep up with the latest juvenile books even though I don’t have much kid-contact any more. Six Innings is a wonderful read for adults, too, with lots of great nostalgia, but what I particularly admired about the book was the restraint shown in presenting the characters. We know a lot about each one through subtle hints and bits of dialogue. You didn’t beat us over the head telling us how each one feels–you just show us through their actions and thoughts. The old writing dictum “Show, don’t tell” was well-used here. I really cared about the characters. I am not a huge baseball fan–(other than following the Rockies to the World Series last year–I live in Colorado.)—but the suspense you brought to the little league game was great. Thanks for a good read.
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Sometimes people will ask me if I like being an author. If it’s a “fun job.” I don’t know about that, exactly. Fun? Hmmm. But when I think of (rare) letters like the above, or complimentary notes I’ve received from parents, or simply a comment from a child telling me I wrote The Best Book in the World! — when I think of the rewards, of how much this job gives back — then it’s easy to say, “Yeah, I do like it. I really do.”