Fan Mail Wednesday #320: Concentrate!

I’m actually behind on some Fan Mail, feeling guilty about it, hoping to address the mini-backlog soon. Thought this one from Raiden might be worth sharing. His letter struck me as original and I tried to reply in kind.

 

 

 

 

I replied . . . 

Dear Raiden, 

Thank you for your kind letter. 

Yes, you are right. Books do help us feel things. We meet new characters and, for a little while, sort of go through life’s adventures with them. 

As readers, that helps us learn, and discover, and grow. 

I thought it was wise when you mentioned that reading helps you learn how to concentrate —- and that concentration helps you work. I struggle with that myself. Sometimes my brain bounces around from one thing to other. Is it going to rain later? And what’s for dinner? And boy it sure would be fun to go to the movies! And Raisinets are delicious —- but maybe I should give Milk Duds a second chance. And on and on and on. 

In the end, my brain is just scrambled eggs and I haven’t accomplished anything. At those times, I tell myself: “Concentrate, Jimmy!” 

Focus. 

Do the one thing in front of you. Read for 15 minutes and have that be the only thing you do. The same is true for playing sports, or talking to a friend, or eating a meal, or following along in class. 

When we concentrate, we teach our brains how to think.

Yes, it’s true, reading can make us smarter. It can help us do better in school, maybe even get an important job someday. But push all that aside for a minute. For me, reading gives me pleasure. Books make me happy. 

I hope books make you happy, too.

You said it yourself in your letter, “I feel like I’m in the story and it lets me feel free.”

Wow. Just wow.

Keep reading, Raiden. No matter who you are, no matter what you love, there are books out there that are just right for you. 

I am so glad you wrote to me!

Your friend,

James Preller

2 comments

  1. Robin says:

    Just beautiful, Jimmy. The sweetness and insight, kindness and intelligence in both letters literally brought tears to my eyes.

  2. Ann Gainer says:

    Beautiful: both Raiden and your reply! Lucky boy!

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