May 11, 2009

The reason I write!

Some days you open up your email and you find a gem. For me it is generally a note from a kid a teacher or a mom or dad that makes your realize you are doing something that counts. I just got one of those and wanted to share it.

I have never really told anyone that one of the major reasons I write is because one of my brothers is severely dyslexic and has always struggled with reading (something I always took for granted and has so enhanced my enjoyment of life). Incidentally, he is the brother I based Carl on (the older brother in the Go Ask Mom series)

When I sit down to write a book, I think to myself: Would a struggling reader enjoy this? Find it funny? Find it heartwarming? Find it interesting? Would my brother struggle word by word to enjoy it? Would there be a payoff for the time spent? Then my dad tells me my big brother reads my books, one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one paragraph at a time. And there is a payoff for him.

This is a letter from a boy's mom, who thoughtfully took the time to let me know what I do counts: I'm Ummm Kern's (a nickname I gave him at his school) mom from Grand Lake. We sure do love your books! He tore through Gabe 2 in ONE day! He fought the other kids off to buy it at the High Trails fundraiser auction.

He even put a note on the auction sheet - Back off!! I dunno if you got a copy, Mrs. S. said she was going to send you one, but D wrote about you for his CSAP essay about an influential person in his life. It was some funny stuff!

Thanks for being being such a great guy for my boy to look up to.

Who would have thought the goofy kid in this picture would grow up to influence another kid?

I got a follow up from this boy's mom with a note I just had to add:

... here is what D had to say in his CSAP essay about an inspirational person in his life. He wrote this two, maybe three weeks after you had come to Grand Lake Elementary; time which he spent holed up in his room devouring your books and working on three stories of his own.
"My biggest inspiration in my life is Justin Matott. He is one of the greatest writers ever. He is my biggest inspiration ever. He is also a great story teller. He makes you feel like you're actually in the story. He is very funny. His books make me pee my pants. JUSTIN ROCKS!"


Anita said...

Justin, I love this post. I think to be such a positive role model for a child is such a gift! I'm thrilled just to be that for my child, but imagine your gift to so many.......amazing!

Keep writing and engaging those kids!

Terra said...

Being a bit goofy rocks. I thought my oldest was dyslexic (sp?) because she read backwards when she started reading (stop was pots for example) but that was not the issue at hand! I had the opportunity to tel you this on the phone but I admire what you do - I have a theory that any book is a good book if a kid is reading it...I have to say yours are two-fold because they ARE good books and Kids Read them!!!

Justin Matott said...

Anita, thank you for your encouraging words!

Terra if goofy rocks, I am a stone cold stud! Because goofy is what I is!

Thank you for the compliment! I added to this post because I thought the words of a 5/6 grader sometimes just says it all!

I had a grandma approach me at the gym this morning who's grandkids read my books. She said, "You need to be on Oprah. There was a bullying show last week and you would have added a great voice. The young man on the show needed a man to tell him what to do about the torment he is going through." I will press on to see if my voice can add to the other great voices being heard out there...

Paige said...

What a great story and thanks for sharing it, I love reading about stuff like this.

Both of my girls are loving the Aliens book, especially Heather. She took it to school today to show off to her friends, and now that she's met Tootsie, she's finding her in your book too. They really enjoyed visiting with you (and your pets) yesterday. Thanks for making that a memorable experience for them.