I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Man in restaurant, holding pen to paper, close-up of hand

I have two letters to write this weekend. One to a man who is dying and the other to a woman who shows incredible compassion. Email won’t suffice in either occasion and I’m really glad it won’t.

In 2002, I met a book editor named Dan Penwell at a writer’s conference in Florida. My intention was to pitch a couple of ideas to him to see if he liked them. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I pitched. But what I do remember is him taking the time to write down my name and ideas and then he took my picture as I sat across from him, saying he wanted to be able to put a face with the name he jotted down. He did that for everybody he met with at the conference. That told me a lot about who he was.

In 2003 (maybe it was 2004?), he sent me the nicest rejection letter I’ve ever received. It was for my singles book. He wrote a two-page letter telling me that I’m a good writer and that my idea had merit, but that he already has an author who writes singles material for his publishing house and they really weren’t look to expand.

I saw him a few weeks after that at another writer’s conference and thanked him for the personal rejection letter. Then I told him my agent had found a publisher for the book and that genuinely pleased him. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

Ever since then, every time I see him – once or twice a year at various conferences – we talk. Not really about working together, but instead about the industry. He’s passionate about the written word. More specifically, he’s passionate about the written word that clearly articulates the gospel and all it entails.

He was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago. But he still shows up at more conferences than imaginable. He pours himself into writers – teaching them everything he knows. And once in a while, I see on Facebook that his wife has taken him to the hospital for treatment.

This past week, his wife posted a different type of message on Facebook saying his doctors have given him three months to live. The news broke my heart, but I knew that I needed to write him a letter to tell him how much I see Jesus in him.

So, this weekend, I’ll tell him that, and a few other things, and then I’ll mail it – knowing we may never talk again. It won’t be an easy letter to let go of, but I’ll be praying I can exhibit the same grace he extended to me all those years ago when he wrote a letter to me.

The other letter I plan to write this weekend is to a woman who shows compassion in a remarkable way and I just want to tell her that. It’ll be a professional letter for a professional relationship and I’m hoping it means something to her.

Letter writing might be a dying art form, but I’m still planning to keep the practice around for a while. 


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