Friday, May 25, 2012

My Idol: Judy Blume

Growing up, I spent Sundays at the public library and the author I'd go to over and over was Judy Blume.   

Superfudge, Blubber, Deenie, Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, Forever... My absolute favorite, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.  She's the reason I want to be a young adult author. 

When I came across the Judy Blume Journal Contest, I was super excited.  The first place winner would receive a personalized message from her.  There were other prizes, but I didn't care.  A personal message from my idol?  A total dream come true.

My entry received 146 votes and I was in the top five contenders.  Of the five, Judy Blume selected the three Finalists, a Runner-Up, and Grand Prize Winner.  Fingers crossed, breath held...I remained a finalist and despite the i-Tunes gift card, I was devastated.

On April 6, 2011 while checking my gmail, I almost fell out my chair.  There in my inbox was an email from Judy Blume!  Oh.My.God.  I screamed for my co-worker to come into my office, just so I knew I wasn't dreaming.

From: Judy Blume
Date: Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Congrats!

Hi Sonja,
Thanks so much for sharing your warm story about your visits to the public library where you discovered my books.  Glad Margaret spoke to you in such a personal way....When I wrote it I didn't even know if anyone would publish it!  How lucky I've been.  That doesn't mean I'm not struggling with an early draft of the new novel I'm trying to write....Wishing you well with your writing.  My only advice is, Never give up, and never let anyone discourage you.  Determination is as important as anything.
Your friend,

It was the absolute BEST day of my writing life!  My idol had told me to never give up.  Whether it's pure stubbornness or sheer determination, I will write until the day I die.  Judy Blume's books have lived on for decades [Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is forty years old this year.]  because everyone can relate to the characters. And I hope that one day my stories too will entertain and connect with an audience.  

Write on!

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