My first experience receiving fan mail didn't come in droves and sackfuls. It was one simple letter. I still remember opening it to find a clipping of a previous column I had written for the North Dakota Living magazine with a brief note scrawled on the backside.
I'm not sure exactly what it said, but the few sentences from a North Dakotan mother gave me immeasurable amounts of validation. The most rewarding part was that my personality came through in my writing. She got my sense of humor and my message stretched across the state.
That connection has been what I've been searching for ever since. Every classic American novel I've read and New Yorker article define the words I use and how I write today, and I dream of having the same impact on readers. On their own, words belong to no one, but when used right, they define who we are.
The words listed below define who I am. They are standards to live by and heights to reach for. They govern over how I do work and guide my pursuit of writing meaningful stories about interesting people.