It always surprises and delights me when I open up my e-mail on Sunday or Monday or any other day of the week and find little notes there for me from people who have taken the time to write after reading a column I've written. Most times they're perfectly lovely and make me feel great. Many times they share a funny story and make me laugh. Every once in a while they're not so nice but, considering the fact it takes just as much energy to write a nasty note as it does a nice one, I appreciate the gesture all the same.
This past week I had eight e-mails. Perfectly nice. Not ugly. Just curious.
"You have to tell us who did it!" a woman from Camilla wrote, referring to the column I penned about being falsely accused of placing horns on a picture of a co-worker. "Come on now, that's not fair. Who did it?" a gentleman from Columbus asked, and Madelyn from Albany suspects that I really was the culprit. And someone who didn't leave their name simply said, "Please tell us who placed the horns on Rhonda's head." The e-mail was sent at 5:05 a.m. on Sunday morning, which could only mean that long before the chickens or I woke up someone had read that column and the mystery of poor Rhonda's head was driving them crazy.
It made me smile. I love people's questions.
The first time someone asked, "What is your method of writing?" I was forced to come to the realization that I don't have one. It's been said that Ernest Hemingway and Lewis Carroll both wrote while standing up, and while writing a paper in college I learned that writer John Cheever wore his only suit of clothes to his studio every day, hung it up while he worked in his underwear, then got dressed again when it was time to go home. Gertrude Stein found the front seat of her Ford an inspiring place to write, and Dan Brown, so I have read, stops writing every hour on the hour to do push ups and occasionally dons gravity boots and hangs upside to overcome writer's block.
Sigh. I'm just not that interesting. Maybe that's why I'm not a famous writer.
I do quite often write sitting cross-legged on the sofa in my pajamas at 3 a.m. I have written in my car at a stop light and in the drive-thru of Chick-fil-A and once I ate an entire box of Rice Krispie Treat bars while trying to write a column. For the record, it did not help me overcome writer's block, but did make me feel nauseous.
"Is there anything you will not write about?" I have been e-mailed twice, no, three, times. Considering I once wrote an entire column about my confusion over why husband prefers to use the bathroom in the back yard to save water, I would say no, probably not.
"What column has garnered the most response from readers?" one person asked.
More than 50 people e-mailed me, and many, many more stopped me in person -- mostly women -- to reveal that their husbands, too, like to use the bathroom in the backyard. I was comforted, and slightly disturbed, to learn that I'm not alone. A close second came in the number of people who sent me advice on how to give the dog a pill. Peanut butter rocks!
Needless to say, I love getting e-mails about my column, so keep them coming. I'll try my best to respond to each and every one.
And for the record, Rhonda put the horns on her own head. Told you I didn't do it.
Now, pardon me while I go buy some gravity boots.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.