This is the necklace that has hung from the rearview mirror of my car for four years now. Dotted with amethyst, onyx and a bunch of other gemstones, it was made for me by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. There are even lettered beads that spell out “To Stephanie Heater” and “From Chucky P” along its length.
While I’ve somewhat moved on from Chuck’s books (I still read them but am by no means the fervent fan I once was– his style has become a little stale and formulaic in its attempts to shock and provoke), I will always hold him dear in my heart for being super awesome to his fans.
Until he got really popular he would respond personally to each and every fan letter. When that number became far too big to manage, he stopped accepting letters and would only accept them during announced month-long periods. For those he would have some sort of writing assignment for his letter-writers (ie: List 5 goals for the upcoming year and why they’re important to you) in an effort to keep them focused and possibly even offer a shred of accountability to their goals. He then promises to respond to each one in due time and dedicates himself (often with the help of friends) to putting together packages for each person.
I’ve written him twice now and have received wonderful surprises in the mail each time. The first time included this necklace (with each of its stones relating to my life somehow according to ancient gemology), a signed and personalized copy of Fight Club, a signed packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds, and a bunch of silly things from dollar stores and the like. The second time I wrote him he sent a CD he recorded specifically for the letter-writers in which he reads a number of his short stories, as well as a signed pic of him, Brad Pitt, Ed Norton and a couple friends on the set of Fight Club, and again a bunch of silly things.
An author who dedicates that much time to his fans will always be wholeheartedly welcome in my book (no pun intended).