The Next Letter You Should Write

Charlotte Bismuth
2 min readSep 21, 2021
Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know what sends me over the moon: public library mentions and emails from readers. I love knowing that my book is circulating among the members of public libraries in Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, or wherever, and I’m always so touched to receive an email, out of the blue, containing a reader’s reactions.

There’s a whole other category of things-I-love now, people. Last week I received a letter — a proper letter, on proper paper, with a proper signature — from a friend, revealing their thoughts on the structure and content of the book, as well as their response to it.

Don’t even get me started on how much I miss letters or the pleasure of receiving any letter — but I’d like to focus on the content of this one. I’m embarrassed to admit that it had never occurred to me to write a letter in order to comment on a friend’s work. I can be a little frazzled, at times, by all of the practicalities that need doing, but that excuse doesn’t stretch very far. I’m determined to do it from now on, for my writer friends.

Here’s what made this letter work:

  • It was specific. My friend commented on structure, distinctive elements of style and even ‘that moment I teared up.’
  • It was typed, but it was printed — so I had the pleasure of finding something other than a bill in my…

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Charlotte Bismuth

Author of “Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher,” former Manhattan ADA , Columbia Law School grad, occasional legal cartoonist.